The mental health of older persons after human-induced disasters: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological data

Siskind, Dan J, Sawyer, Emily, Lee, Irene, Lie, David C., Martin-Khan, Melinda, Farrington, Julia, Crompton, David and Kisely, Steve (2016) The mental health of older persons after human-induced disasters: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological data. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24 5: 379-388. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2015.12.010


Author Siskind, Dan J
Sawyer, Emily
Lee, Irene
Lie, David C.
Martin-Khan, Melinda
Farrington, Julia
Crompton, David
Kisely, Steve
Title The mental health of older persons after human-induced disasters: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological data
Journal name American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1545-7214
1064-7481
Publication date 2016-05
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jagp.2015.12.010
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 24
Issue 5
Start page 379
End page 388
Total pages 10
Place of publication New York, United States
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background
Older people are increasingly “in harm's way” following human-induced disasters (HIDs). There is debate in the literature as to the relative impact of disasters on their psychological health compared with other age groups. Natural disasters and HIDs are thought to affect survivors differentially, and this may extend to older adults as a group. In the absence of existing systematic reviews, we aimed to synthesize the available evidence and conduct meta-analyses of the effects of HIDs on the psychological health of older versus younger 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, adjustment disorder, and psychological distress.

Results
We identified 11 papers from 10 studies on HIDs (N = 26,753), of which 8 had sufficient data for a random-effects meta-analysis. Older adults were 2.85 times less likely to experience PTSD symptoms following HID (95% CI: 1.42–5.70) when compared with younger adults. There was no statistically significant difference in terms of anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Conclusion
Health and emergency services need to be increasingly prepared to meet the psychological needs of older people, given the global rise in the numbers of older adults affected by disasters of all kinds. Preliminary evidence suggests that old age may be a protective factor for the development of PTSD in the wake of HID.
Keyword Human-induced disaster
Mental health
Meta-analysis
Older persons
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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