Impacts of Tsunami Disaster in Thai Elderly Survivors
The psychological impact 4 years after 2004 tsunami affected the individual health status and living situation of survivors. Although Thailand rapidly received assistance and success in the relief response, mental trauma is still embedded within individuals. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe individual experiences regarding to Tsunami impact in Thai elderly survivors after 4 years. Participants were 22 older adults, aged between 60 and 81 years, who had direct experience with various loss from the 2004 tsunami. Semi-structure in-depth interviews, audio-tape recordings, and field notes were used to collect data at participants’ homes. Thematic analysis was use to discover regularities and patterns among descriptions. Three major themes were found: 1) feelings of suffering and missing loved ones were still deep in the minds of participants, 2) coping with stress included reframing thoughts as “plong,” living with life understanding, doing activities for healing, support from family members, and building self-esteem, and 3) engaging in self-care behaviors to heal the mind and body included undergoing continuous care as necessary, seeking care both physical and mental health, and holding mind with Buddhist principle. The findings delineated Tsunami as a stressful life event that has had prolonged affected on individual’s lives. Older adult survivors still suffer from their lost and concern about their children’s lives. Although they found coping to live wisely, these survivors needed professionals helped for continuous care. Findings suggested that health care professionals would continue follow-up care with older adult survivor concern, managed self-care, and coping strategies with religious practice.
KeywordsImpact Tsunami Elderly survivors Coping Self-care
Our research team would like to thank all participants for sharing personal experiences. Also, we would thank to the staff at the Takuapa hospital for kindly co-operation. In addition, the research fund was supported by the Faculty of Psychology, Chulalongkorn University, in the fiscal year 2009.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Rangsiman Soonthornchaiya, Arunya Tuicomepee, and John L. Romano declare that they have no conflict of interest.
After obtaining written informed consent from the participants, the researcher began the interview.
Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)
All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Chulalongkorn University Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration. The research project was approved by Chulalongkorn University Institutional Review Board.
- Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (1998). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Davidson, J. R. & McFarlane, A. C. (2006). The extent and impact of mental health problems and disaster. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 67(Suppl 2), 9–14.Google Scholar
- Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DPM). (2005). Earthquake/tsunami victims relief efforts. Thailand: Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Ministry of Interior.Google Scholar
- Department of Mental Health (2005). Mental Health Report 2005. Retrieved January 23, 2008 from http://www.mhrcthai.org/report_disease_a03.asp.
- Diekelmann, N., & Allen, D. (1986). A hermeneutic analysis of the NLN criteria for appraisal of a baccalaureate programs. In N. Diekelmann, D. Allen, & C. Tanner (Eds.), The NLN criteria for appraisal of baccalaureate programs: A critical hermeneutic analysis (pp. 11–36). New York: National League for Nursing.Google Scholar
- Erdur, O. (2002). Psychological reactions of Turkish earthquake survivors. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, USA.Google Scholar
- Hatthakit, U., & Thaniwathananon, P. (2007). The suffering experiences of Buddhist tsunami survivors. International Journal for Human Caring, 11(2), 59–66.Google Scholar
- Larsen, J. E., Ramasoota, P., & Silabutra, J. (2007). Prevalence rate of depression among high school students, two years following the Tsunami in Phang-Nga Province, Thailand. Journal and Public Health Development, 5(3), 45-53.Google Scholar
- National Office Buddhism (2002). Youth with a mission Thailand National Office. Retrieved August 22, 2002, from https://www.ywarntliai.org/office/buddhisn-/btmi.
- Pairojkul, S. (2005). Reproductive, maternal and children health: effects of the tsunami on the health of Thai children, the World Health Organization. Retrieved February 18, 2005 from http://www.whosea.org.
- Prueksaritanond, S., & Kongsakol, R. (2007). Biopsychosocial impacts on the elderly from a tsunami-affected community in southern Thailand. Journal of Medicine Association Thailand, 90(8), 1501–1505.Google Scholar
- Rajavaramuni, P. (1998). Thai Buddhist. Wat Thai: Washington, D. C..Google Scholar
- Royal Thai Embassy (2005). Post-tsunami developments in Thailand. Retrieved February 18, 2005 from http://www.thaiembdc.org.
- Soonthornchaiya, R. (2006a). Depression in older patients with chronic illness (in Thai). Journal of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, 7(4), 60–67.Google Scholar
- Soonthornchaiya, R. (2007). Perceptions of depressive disorders among Thai older adults in urban areas (in Thai). The Journal of Psychiatric Nursing and Mental Health, 21(1), 67–80.Google Scholar
- Supakun, G., Lueboonthavatchai, O., & Soonthornchaiya, R. (2007). The effectiveness of the cognitive behavioral program on depression (in Thai). The Journal of Psychiatric Nursing and Mental Health, 21(2), 79–89.Google Scholar
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (2005). Indian Ocean: earthquake and tsunami, fact sheet #31, fiscal year 2005, February 4, 2005. Retrieved June 5, 2006 from http://www.usaid.gov/locations/asia_near_east/tsunami/.
- U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2005). Magnitude 9.0: off the west coast of northern Sumatra. Retrieved March 22, 2005 from http://earthquake.usgs.gov/recenteqsww/quakes/usslav.htm.
- van Griensven, F., Chakkraband, M.L.S., Thienkrua, W., Pengjuntr, W., Lopes Cardozo, B., Tantipiwatanaskul, P., Mock, P. A., Ekassawin, S., Varangrat, A., Gotway, C., Sabin, M., Tappero, J. W. (2006). Mental Health Problems Among Adults in Tsunami-Affected Areas in Southern Thailand. JAMA, 296(5), 537–548. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.296.5.537.
- World Health Organization (WHO) (2005). South East Asia earthquake and tsunami: Country information-Thailand. Retrieved January 30, 2005 from http://www.w3.whosea.org/en/section23/section1108/section1835/section1851_8186.