Spatial clustering of people with memories and responses six years after an earthquake in Cauquenes, Chile
The occurrence of earthquakes can cause psychiatric problems expressed as unpleasant and uncontrollable memories of the event termed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mapping the location of people and identifying their exposure and reactions to an earthquake can be extremely valuable from a public, mental health point of view. The main objective of this study was to examine people with respect to PTSD and healthy post-traumatic growth (PTG) after an earthquake searching for expression of geographic clustering that could be useful for a better understanding of mental health conditions. Geographic information systems analyses were performed to detect global and local geographic clustering. Investigating 171 randomly selected adults from Cauquenes, Chile, we demonstrated spatially clustered variables related to PTSD and PTG in Cauquenes six years after an earthquake. Urban and peri-urban areas had clear differences (hotspots/coldspots). The spatial identifications found should facilitate exploring the impact of mental health programmes in communities exposed to disasters like earthquakes, thereby improving their quality of life as well as reducing overall costs.
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