Association Between Earthquake Exposures and Mental Health Outcomes in Phulpingdanda Village After the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes

  • Jessica S. SchwindEmail author
  • Stephanie A. Norman
  • Rebecca Brown
  • Rebecca Hoffmann Frances
  • Elisabeth Koss
  • Dibesh Karmacharya
  • Susan L. Santangelo
Original Paper


In 2015, two strong earthquakes, as well as continuous, high magnitude aftershocks, struck Nepal. Phulpingdanda village was greatly impacted due to its lack of infrastructure and environmental remoteness. Adults from sampled households were surveyed 1-year later to examine the association between earthquake exposures and indicators of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and resilience. Results showed 33% of surveyed residents screened positive for depression, 9% screened positive for severe PTSD, and 46% displayed moderate to high resilience. Additionally, participants experienced resource loss (100%), damaged home and goods (99%), and exposure to the grotesque (82%). Traumatic earthquake experiences related to personal harm were associated with symptoms of depression and PTSD and resource loss was associated with depressive symptoms. Earthquake experiences associated with less damage to home and goods, but greater exposure to the grotesque were associated with increased resilience. This research adds to our knowledge of the relationship between traumatic exposures and indicators of psychological distress and resilience following a disaster.


Nepal Earthquake PTSD Depression Resilience Natural disaster 



The research team would like to thank Bishwo Shrestha, Laxmi Thapa, Badri Mainali and Swastik Pandey for their field support, and Dr. Saroj Ojha for psychiatric consultation and support.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public HealthGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Medical College of GeorgiaAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA
  3. 3.Saint Joseph’s College of MaineStandishUSA
  4. 4.Maine Behavioral HealthcarePortlandUSA
  5. 5.Tufts University School of MedicineDepartment of PsychiatryBostonUSA
  6. 6.Independent ResearcherOaklandUSA
  7. 7.Center for Molecular Dynamics NepalKathmanduNepal
  8. 8.Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Center for Psychiatric ResearchPortlandUSA

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