Regional Differences in the Psychological Recovery of Christchurch Residents Following the 2010/2011 Earthquakes: A Longitudinal Study
We examined changes in psychological distress experienced by residents of Christchurch following two catastrophic earthquakes in late 2010 and early 2011, using data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS), a national probability panel study of New Zealand adults. Analyses focused on the 267 participants (172 women, 95 men) who were living in central Christchurch in 2009 (i.e., before the Christchurch earthquakes), and who also provided complete responses to our yearly panel questionnaire conducted in late 2010 (largely between the two major earthquakes), late 2011, and late 2012. Levels of psychological distress were similar across the different regions of central Christchurch immediately following the September 2010 earthquake, and remained comparable across regions in 2011. By late 2012, however, average levels of psychological distress in the regions had diverged as a function of the amount of property damage experienced within each given region. Specifically, participants in the least damaged region (i.e., the Fendalton-Waimairi and Riccarton-Wigram wards) experienced greater drops in psychological distress than did those in the moderately damaged region (i.e., across the Spreydon-Heathcote and Hagley- Ferrymead wards). However, the level of psychological distress reported by participants in the most damaged region (i.e., across Shirley-Papanui and Burwood-Pegasus) were not significantly different to those in the least damaged region of central Christchurch. These findings suggest that different patterns of psychological recovery emerged across the different regions of Christchurch, with the moderately damaged region faring the worst, but only after the initial shock of the destruction had passed.
SubjectsField of Research::17 - Psychology and Cognitive Sciences::1701 - Psychology::170113 - Social and Community Psychology
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