Somatic symptoms after a natural disaster: a prospective study.


The authors prospectively examined the prevalence of somatization symptoms among community respondents after a natural disaster in Puerto Rico. Exposure to the disaster was related to a higher prevalence of medically unexplained physical symptoms, particularly gastrointestinal ones (abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, excessive gas) and pseudoneurological ones (amnesia, paralysis, fainting, unusual spells/double vision).

Psychological responses of rescue workers: fire fighters and trauma


The psychological responses of two groups of fire fighters were examined following the performance of rescue work. Four types of responses were reported: identification with the victims, feelings of helplessness and guilt, fear of the unknown, and physiological reactions. Stress was found to be mediated by availability of social support, type of leadership, level of training, and use of rituals. Implications of these findings for preventive intervention measures are discussed.

Assessment of life stress events: the etiology and measurement of traumatic stress disorder


The impact of stressful life events on health has been of considerable interest from a cross-cultural perspective. Examined herein is the etiology and onset of post-traumatic stress disorder with careful review of the diagnostic criteria, current measures used and clinical dimensions of PTSD. Also examined from a cross-cultural perspective is how psychological trauma may be processed by victims of trauma and subsequent approaches both pharmacological and psychotherapeutic to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.