European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 567–575 | Cite as

Prevalence and predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder and depressive symptoms among child survivors 1 year following the Wenchuan earthquake in China

  • Liu-hua Ying
  • Xin-chun Wu
  • Chong-de LinEmail author
  • Chuansheng Chen
Original Contribution


The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence rates of probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression and to explore potential risk factors among child and adolescent survivors 1 year following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. 3052 participants were administered the Child PTSD Symptom Scale, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for Children, and the earthquake experience scale. Results indicated that the prevalence rates of probable PTSD and depression were 8.6 and 42.5 %, respectively. Demographic variables (i.e., age and gender) and most aspects of earthquake experiences (i.e., direct exposure, close ones’ exposure, fear for the safety of close ones, prior exposure to trauma, living location, and house damage, with the exception of type of housing) made unique contributions to PTSD and depressive symptoms. In addition, the moderating effect of gender on the relationships between age and PTSD and depressive symptoms was significant. In conclusion, depression was a more common psychological response than was PTSD among child survivors 1 year following the Wenchuan earthquake. Age and gender were risk factors for both PTSD and depressive symptoms. Furthermore, older female survivors exhibit more severe PTSD and depressive symptoms. Additionally, several aspects of earthquake experiences (i.e., direct exposure, close ones’ exposure, fear for the safety of close ones, prior exposure to trauma, living location, and house damage) was also important for the development and maintenance of PTSD and depressive symptoms.


Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms Depression Child Risk factors Wenchuan earthquake 



This study was supported by ‘Key Projects of Philosophy and Social Sciences Research, Ministry of Education, China (Grant number: 08JZD0026).’ We thank Dai Yan, Chen Qiuyan, An Yuanyuan, Zeng Panpan and Liu Chunhui for their help with data collection. We are also grateful to the students and teachers of the participating schools for their time and support.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liu-hua Ying
    • 1
  • Xin-chun Wu
    • 2
  • Chong-de Lin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chuansheng Chen
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Developmental PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and Social BehaviorUniversity of California-IrvineIrvineUSA

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