The "trauma signature

" Understanding the psychological consequences of the 2010 haiti Earthquake

James M. Shultz, Louis H Marcelin, Sharon B. Madanes, Zelde Espinel, Yuval Neria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was one of the most catastrophic episodes in history, leaving 5% of the nation's population killed or injured, and 19% internally displaced. The distinctive combination of earthquake hazards and vulnerabilities, extreme loss of life, and paralyzing damage to infrastructure, predicts population-wide psychological distress, debilitating psychopathology, and pervasive traumatic grief. However, mental health was not referenced in the national recovery plan. The limited MHPSS services provided in the first eight months generally lacked coordination and empirical basis. There is a need to customize and coordinate disaster mental health assessments, interventions, and prevention efforts around the novel stressors and consequences of each traumatic event. An analysis of the key features of the 2010 Haiti earthquake was conducted, defining its "Trauma Signature" based on a synthesis of early disaster situation reports to identify the unique assortment of risk factors for post-disaster mental health consequences. This assessment suggests that multiple psychological risk factors were prominent features of the earthquake in Haiti. For rapid-onset disasters, Trauma Signature (TSIG) analysis can be performed during the post-impact/pre-deployment phase to target the MHPSS response in a manner that is evidence-based and tailored to the event-specific exposures and experiences of disaster survivors. Formalization of tools to perform TSIG analysis is needed to enhance the timeliness and accuracy of these assessments and to extend this approach to human-generated disasters and humanitarian crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-366
Number of pages14
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Fingerprint

Haiti
Earthquakes
Disasters
Psychology
Wounds and Injuries
Mental Health
Grief
Psychopathology
Population
Survivors
History

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • disaster
  • earthquake
  • mental health
  • psychological
  • psychosocial
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Emergency Medicine

Cite this

The "trauma signature : " Understanding the psychological consequences of the 2010 haiti Earthquake. / Shultz, James M.; Marcelin, Louis H; Madanes, Sharon B.; Espinel, Zelde; Neria, Yuval.

In: Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, Vol. 26, No. 5, 2011, p. 353-366.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Shultz, James M. ; Marcelin, Louis H ; Madanes, Sharon B. ; Espinel, Zelde ; Neria, Yuval. / The "trauma signature : " Understanding the psychological consequences of the 2010 haiti Earthquake. In: Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. 2011 ; Vol. 26, No. 5. pp. 353-366.
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