Prevalence of PTSD in School-Age Population Post Earthquake/Tsunami

Risk Factors
  • Ana M. Briceño
  • Alfonso Correa
  • Sandra Oltra
  • Michèle Barreau
  • Anamaría Dávila
  • Carolina Ebel
  • Juan M. Castillo
  • Sonia Castro
  • Marcela Abufhele
Reference work entry


Epidemiological studies show that the most frequent pathology in children after a traumatic event such as a natural disaster is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reaching a median rate of 40 % across 27 studies with a range of 6–95 %. The strategies used to cope with these traumatic situations are commonly influenced by several risk factors, including the disaster’s magnitude and characteristics, individual and familiar premorbid functioning, and sociocultural conditions.

Studies show that female gender and younger age are the most vulnerable subpopulation to develop PTSD symptomatology in children. Also, family functioning styles, perception of familiar support, and presence of psychopathology in the caregiver are important predictors for a child to develop PTSD as well as risk factors for chronicity of the illness after a disaster, with the potential to produce long-lasting consequences in socio-emotional development and well-being throughout the life cycle.

The following chapter will present a summary of the epidemiological data available regarding PTSD prevalence in children after exposure to earthquake/tsunami, including risk factors for PTSD development, comorbidity, course of illness, and prognosis, aiming to contribute to the body of literature on the topic in order to inform public policy on emergency preparedness and contribute to develop effective strategies for prevention of PTSD after future disasters.


PTSD Children Risk factors Earthquake Tsunami Prevalence 

List of Abbreviations


Post-traumatic stress disorder


Socioeconomic status


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana M. Briceño
    • 1
  • Alfonso Correa
    • 1
  • Sandra Oltra
    • 1
  • Michèle Barreau
    • 1
  • Anamaría Dávila
    • 1
  • Carolina Ebel
    • 1
  • Juan M. Castillo
    • 1
  • Sonia Castro
    • 1
  • Marcela Abufhele
    • 1
  1. 1.Unidad de Psiquiatría Infantil, Departamento de PediatríaClínica Alemana de Santiago, Universidad del DesarrolloVitacuraChile

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