Mental health implications for older adults after natural disasters - a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Siskind, D
Parker, G
Lie, D
Martin-Khan, M
Raphael, B
Crompton, D
Kisely, S
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2015
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London, United Kingdom

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Abstract

Background: Natural disasters affect the health and wellbeing of adults throughout the world. There is some debate in the literature as to whether older persons have increased risk of mental health outcomes after exposure to natural disasters when compared to younger adults. To date, no systematic review has evaluated this. Objectives: We aimed to synthesise the available evidence on the impact of natural disasters on the mental health and psychological distress experienced by older adults. Methods: A meta-analysis was conducted on papers identified through a systematic review. The primary outcomes measured were post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders, and adjustment disorder. Findings: We identified six papers with sufficient data for a random effects meta-analysis. Older adults were 2.11 times more likely to experience PTSD symptoms when exposed to natural disasters when compared to younger adults. Conclusions: Recent decades have seen a global rise in the numbers of older adults affected by natural disasters, implying that an increasing number of the older adults will find themselves “in harm’s way” amid community disruption and distress. Mental health service providers need to be prepared to meet the mental health needs of older persons, and be particularly vigilant after natural disasters to ensure, in particular, early detection and management of PTSD.

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AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY

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49

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1_suppl

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Biomedical and clinical sciences

Psychology

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Life Sciences & Biomedicine

Psychiatry

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Siskind, D; Parker, G; Lie, D; Martin-Khan, M; Raphael, B; Crompton, D; Kisely, S, Mental health implications for older adults after natural disasters - a systematic review and meta-analysis, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2015, 49 (1_suppl), pp. 60-61