Relationship between Coping Strategies, Personality Traits and Psychological Distress in Bam Earthquake Survivors

Document Type: Original Article(s)



Background: After each natural disaster a comprehensive treatment protocol is needed for volunteers of healthcare personnel of the disaster zone. The aim of this study was to emphasize the psychological aspects of coping strategies, personality, psychological distress and pain of patients survived the Bam earthquake. Methods: Eighty-six patients who had suffered several kinds of psycho-cognitive and emotional impairment of the Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were selected six months after the earthquake. They completed a battery of questionnaires including the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Ways of Coping Checklist, Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), and McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). Multiple regression analyses and Correlation Analyses were applied for inclusion and exclusion of variables. Correlations were reported between the HADS, EPQ and MPQ. Results: Both anxiety and depression showed significant positive correlations with five of the dimensions of MPQ. High levels of neuroticism were associated with greater use of denial and passivity. Psychoticism was negatively associated with external support, given the social withdrawal to be associated with psychoticism. Correlation analysis confirmed that high neuroticism was related to greater degrees of emotional distress. Anxiety and depression were both associated with increased scores in denial and passivity. Female patients were found to score significantly higher than males on the factor of “relying on external support”. Conclusion: The main problems of patients that survived from Bam earthquake were emotional distress, coping deficiency and adjustment disorders. It seems that psychological intervention might be more effective than the conventional medical treatments that were administered in the hospital.Iran J Med Sci 2006; 31(4): 191-195. Keywords ● Personality ● neuroticism ● coping strategies ● Bam earthquake