Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 129–139 | Cite as

The psychological impact of an earthquake on rescue workers: A follow-up study of the Swedish group of rescue workers in Armenia, 1988

  • Tom Lundin
  • Magnus Bodgard
Brief Report


After the disastrous earthquake in Amenia in December 1988, many international teams assisted in the rescue work in response to an official request from the Soviet authorities. On December 10th and 12th, 50 Swedish rescue workers were sent to Leninakan in Armenia. This group was recruited at very short notice and there was no opportunity for any briefing sessions before departure. Twenty persons were professionals, with various degrees of experience in disaster rescue operations. None of the group had previously worked with earthquake victims. These 50 rescue workers camped in the center of the area for 4 days and nights and thus closely observed the devastating effects on people and their homes and possessions and other buildings. The group was followed up with debriefing sessions and a prospective 9-month questionnaire study. Some significant differences in the psychological outcome were found between professionals and non-professionals both during the first month and in the further follow-up.

Key Words

natural disaster rescue worker earthquake Armenia follow-up post-traumatic stress impact of event scale GHQ-28 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Lundin
    • 1
  • Magnus Bodgard
  1. 1.Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity HospitalLinkopingSweden

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