Quality of Life Research

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 379-388

The impact of the Chi-Chi earthquake on quality of life among elderly survivors in Taiwan – A before and after study

  • Mau-Roung LinAffiliated withInstitute of Injury Prevention and Control, Taipei Medical University
  • , Wenzheng HuangAffiliated withDepartment of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health
  • , Chingchaw HuangAffiliated withDepartment of Health Care Management, National Taipei College of Nursing
  • , Hei-Fen HwangAffiliated withDepartment of Nursing, National Taipei College of Nursing
  • , Lung-Wen TsaiAffiliated withInstitute of Injury Prevention and Control, Taipei Medical University
  • , Yun-Ning ChiuAffiliated withInstitute of Injury Prevention and Control, Taipei Medical University

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This paper examines the impact of the Chi-Chi earthquake, which hit central Taiwan on September 21, 1999, on the quality of life among the elderly survivors. The 28-item Taiwanese-adapted brief version of the World Health Organization's quality of life questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF) was used to measure quality of life in four domains: physical capacity, psychological well-being, social relationships, and environment. These measures were coincidently collected in a separate study from 368 subjects aged 65 and older in the affected area shortly before the earthquake. Of these subjects, 268 were interviewed in a follow-up assessment 12 months after the earthquake. Linear mixed models were applied to investigate how quality of life in each of the four domains changed from the pre-earthquake assessment to 12 months after the earthquake, and how these changes depended on the level of damage to residences. In conclusion, elderly survivors tended to report lower quality of life in physical capacity, psychological well-being, and environment 12 months after the earthquake than at the assessment prior to the earthquake, regardless of the level of damage to their residences during the earthquake. However, those whose residences completely collapsed during the earthquake reported a higher quality of life in social relationships while others reported the opposite.

Earthquake Elderly Epidemiology Quality of life Taiwan WHOQOL-BREF