DEPRESSION AND LOSS OF SOCIAL SUPPORT IN RECOVERY FROM THE ATTICA EARTHQUAKE IN GREECE
Messinis, L. and Antoniadis, G., Tei Patras, Greece
Previous studies have shown that social support may buffer the impact of a natural disaster on depression. Only a limited number of studies have however examined the role of depression and social support during recovery from a natural disaster. One month after the September 7th 1999, Attica Earthquake in Greece, 60 participants from areas severely impacted by the earthquake (Liosia & Menidio) were studied (T1). Follow-up studies were conducted at 12 months (T2) and 24 months (T3) post-earthquake. Measures included the Loss of Resource scale, the Revised Impact of events scale -RIES and the Greek edition of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Data obtained from the above measures and PTSD symptoms at T1 were used to measure the impact of the earthquake. Results indicated that participants who experienced severe losses were significantly more depressed than low loss participants at T2 (p< 001) and T3 (p< 05). Severity of PTSD symptoms at T1 correlated positively with depressive symptomatology at T2 (p< 001) and T3 (p< 001). Analyses further indicated that loss of social support was associated with increased depression cross-sectionally. The above results, although preliminary suggest that depression may lead to loss of social support and interventions with natural disaster victims during recovery/rebuilding should include both treatment for depressive symptoms and aim to foster/ increase social support.