Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 37–48 | Cite as

Psychosocial impact of disasters: Victims of the Baldwin Hills fire

  • Carl A. Maida
  • Norma S. Gordon
  • Alan Steinberg
  • Gail Gordon


A major fire occurred in the Baldwin Hills community of Los Angeles that resulted in the destruction of 50 homes. The life of this Black middle class community was seriously disrupted by this fire. Twenty-five victims of the fire were interviewed using a modified version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule/Disaster Supplement and the Impact of Event Scale. Subjects reported on their emotional, psychosomatic, and physical health problems resulting from the fire. Additional information obtained by the interviewers included victims' opinions of media coverage of the event, attribution of blame for its occurrence and perception of community disruption. This study supports previous findings that exposure to the event is significantly related to the number of post-traumatic stress symptoms as reported on the DIS/DS, and that depression symptoms, which were widespread, were correlated with the extent of loss.

Key words

disaster Baldwin Hills fire post-traumatic stress depression loss 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl A. Maida
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norma S. Gordon
    • 3
  • Alan Steinberg
    • 1
    • 4
  • Gail Gordon
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Bio-Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineCenter for Health Sciences University of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.School of Public Health, Center for Health SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  3. 3.Public Health Foundation of Los Angeles County, Inc.USA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatrySepulveda Veteran's Administration Medical CenterSepulveda
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry and Bio-Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles

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