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Social support following a disaster

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Title:
Social support following a disaster
Series Title:
Quick response research report ;
Physical Description:
20 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Bickman, Leonard, 1941-
Cook, Jerome D
University of Colorado, Boulder -- Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
University of Colorado, Boulder -- Institute of Behavioral Science
Publisher:
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado
Place of Publication:
Boulder, Colo
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Disaster victims -- Services for   ( lcsh )
Disaster victims -- Mental health   ( lcsh )
Natural disasters -- Psychological aspects   ( lcsh )
Natural disasters -- Social aspects   ( lcsh )
Disaster relief   ( lcsh )
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government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (p. 13-16).
Additional Physical Form:
Also issued online as part of a joint project with the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) Research Library's disaster mental health initiative.
Statement of Responsibility:
Leonard Bickman, Jerome Cook.
General Note:
Cover title.
General Note:
"Institute of Behavioral Science #6."

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001985098
oclc - 39096841
usfldc doi - F57-00046
usfldc handle - f57.46
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lcc - HV553 .B53 1986 no. 1
System ID:
SFS0001127:00001


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Social support following a disaster /
Leonard Bickman, Jerome Cook.
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1986.
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HAZARDHOUSECOpy

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NaturalHazardsResearchandApplicationsInformationCenterCampusBox482UniversityofColoradoBoulder,Colorado80309-0482SOCIALSUPPORTFOLLOWINGADISASTERLeonardSickmanJeromeCook1986QuickResponseResearch Report#01This publication is partofthe Natural Hazards Research&Applications Information Center's ongoing Quick Response Research Report Series. http://www. colorado. edu/hazardsInstituteofBehavioralScience#6 (303)492-6818

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SocialSupport2AbstractThirty-ninevictimsofanaturaldisasterwereinterviewedsixweeksaftertornadoestoucheddownintheircommunitiesineastcentral andwestcentralPennsylvania.Dataweregatheredaspartofapilotstudyforasubsequentinvestigationofmentalhealthhelp-seekingfollowingnaturaldisasters.Thepresentstudyhypothesizedthatperceivedavailabilityofsocialsupportwouldmoderatethestressassociatedwiththedisaster,reSUltinginanegativecorrelationwithameasureofpsychologicalsYmptomatology.Resultsyieldednosignificantcorrelations.Instead,measuresoftheseverityof,anddistresscausedbydisruptionofsocialnetworksweresignificantlyandpositivelycorrelatedwithmeasuresofanxiety,depression,andsomatization.Itissuggestedthattheseverityoftheeventandtheconcomitantstressorscausedbydisruptionoftheindividual'ssocialnetworkmayoverridethebeneficialbUfferingeffectsofsocialsupportfoundinpaststUdies.

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Socialsupport3SocialsupportfollowinganaturaldisasterAnatura1disasteroftenresultsinsevereconsequencesforitsvictims.Individualsandfamiliesmustoftencopewiththelossofordamagetotheirhomesandotherproperty,aswellaswithpersonalinjuryanddeathorinjurytofamily,friends,relatives,andothermembersoftheindividual'ssocialnetwork.Theinjuries,insomecases,maybelong-lasting,andtheeffectsofthephysicaldamagemaybeexacerbatedbyinadequatefinancialresourcesandinsurancecoverage.Despitetheseverityofdamageassociatedwithanaturaldisaster,researchonthepsychologicalconsequencesofadisasterhasbeensurprisinglyinconclusive,andhasoftenproducedconflictingresults(seeGreen,1982;PerryandLindell,1978).Ingeneral,studiesthathavetakenapsychodynamicapproachandhaveappliedin-depthclinicalinterviewshaveyieldedhigherratesofpsychologicalimpairment(LiftonandOlson,1976;Chamberlin,1980;Boyd,1981;TitchenerandKapp,1976;Logue,Hansen,andstruening,1979).Ontheotherhand,sociologicalandbehavioralassessmentsoftheincidenceofmentalillnessfollowinganaturaldisasterhavetendedtoshowlowerdegreesofimpairment(KilijanekandDrabek,1979;Penick,Powell,andSieck,1976;QuarantelliandDynes,1976;Taylor,1977).Therefore,itisimportantthatfuturestudiesattempttoestablishthepresenceorabsenceofpsychologicalsYmptomsandtodeterminethefactorsthatmayberelatedtotheirpresenceor

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SocialSupport4absence.SocialSupportAvariablethathasbeenimplicitinmanypaststudies beentheimpactofthedisasterupontheindividual'ssocialnetwork,andtheprovisionofsupporttothevictimfollowingthedisaster.Referenceisoftenmadetothedisruptionofanindividual'ssocialnetworkfollowingadisaster.Again,theevidenceissomewhatconflictinginthisarea.OllendickandHoffmann(1982)andPenick,etal.,(1976)pointtoasmalldegreeoffamilydisruption,whilePowellandPenick(1983)reportedstrainedfamilyrelationships,andLiftonandOlson(1976)reportnearlycompletesocial dfsruption. ThefewstudiesthathaveexplicitlyassessedtheimportanceofsocialsupportinbufferingtheeffectsofstressfromdisastershaveallderivedfromstudiesofThreeMileIsland(Fleming,Baum,Gisriel,andGatchel,1985;BrometandDunn,1981;Bromet,1980).ThelackofstudiesexaminingthebUfferingrelationshipissurprisinggiventhevastamountofliteratureinvestigatingsocialsupportasamoderatorofstressfullifeevents(seeCohenandWills,1985;Kessler,Price,andWortman,1985,forreviewsofthisliterature).Flemingetal.,(1985)wereabletoprovidesupportforthebUfferinghypothesisinawell-controlledstUdyofbehavioral,psychological,andphysiological sYmptoms ofstressfollowingtheaccidentatThreeMileIsland(TMI).Theyfoundevidenceforbufferingeffectsof

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Socialsupport5emotionalsupportoneyearfollowingtheaccident.However,astheauthorshavepointedoutintheseandotherarticles(Baum,Fleming,andDavidson,1983;Collins,Baum,andsinger,1983;Baum,Gatchel,andSchaeffer,1983),theaccidentatTMIhadmanyuniquequalities(i.e.,novisibledamage,noclear"lowpoint"--thepointatwhichthemostseveredamageoccurs,technologicalvs.naturaldisaster)thatlimititsgeneralizabilitytothestudyofnaturaldisasters.Thepresentstudy,inlookingatadifferentdisastersetting(i.e.,onethatwasnatural,involvedseverephysicaldamageandinjuries,andhadaclear"lowpoint")wasdesignedtotestthefollowinghypotheses:-1)Overalllevelsofpsychologicaldistressamongvictimsofanaturaldisasterwillbehigherthanthosefornormalpopulations;2)OveralllevelsofperceivedavailabilityofsocialsupportwillbesignificantlynegativelycorrelatedwithoveralllevelsofpsychologicalsYmptomatology;3)Inparticular,appraisalsupportandtangiblesupportshouldbemostsignificantlycorrelatedwithlevelsofpsychologicalsYmptomatologybecauseoftheneedfortangible(i.e.,financialandlabor)assistance,andtheneedforaccurateappraisalofresourcesnecessarytocopewithahighlythreateningevent.MethodDescriptionofSUbjectsandDisastersiteThirty-ninevictimsofamajornaturaldisastervolunteered

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SocialSupport6toparticipateinthisinvestigationthatservedaspilotworkforaforthcominglongitudinalstudy.Allsubjectshaddirectlyexperiencedaseriesoftornadosthatsweptover ofOhioandPennsylvaniaonMay31,1985.Thetornadosresultedinextensivepropertydamageandlossoflife.Twoseparatecommunities,approximately40milesapart,wereselectedfromthedisasterregiontoserveasresearchsites.Tornadovictimswererecruitedfromtwocommunitiestoprovidesubjectswithabroadrangeofdemographiccharacteristics.Residentsinregionone(locatedincentraleastOhio)wererecruitedviadoor-to-doorscreeningwithinthemostheavilydamagedareas.Approximatelytwo-thirdsofthesampleinthisregionwasselectedinthismanner.Ifresidenceshadbeencompletelydestroyed,thenamesandlocationofthesepersonsweresolicitedfromneighbors,andtheywerethencontactedpersonally.Approximatelyonethirdofthesamplefromregiononewasthuscontacted.ProspectiveSUbjectsfirstcompletedabriefself-reportscreeninginstrumenttoassesslevelofpsychologicaldistress,extentofphysicalinjurytoanyoneintheirhousehold,andestimatedpropertydamage.Fromthisgroupof36subjects,24agreedtobeinterviewed.SelectioncriteriaforallSUbjectswereasfollows;scoringonestandarddeviationabovetheaverageonascreeninginstrument(foranyoffivesubscalespertainingtopostdisasterincreasesinanxiety,depression,somatization,familyconflictordecreasedfamily

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SocialSupport7cohesion),reportingexcessiveuseofalcoholsincethedisaster,orhavingmorethan300dollarsofpropertydamage.Independentt-testsindicatedthatsUbjectswhoagreedtobeintervieweddidnotdiffersignificantlyonanyoftheselectioncriteriafromthosewhorefusedtoparticipate. ofsUbjectsfromregiontwo(centralwestpennsylvania)wasmoredifficultasalmostallresidentshadbeenrelocatedduetoseverepropertydamage.Apartiallistofrelocatedresidentswasobtainedfromcityofficialsandtheseindividualswerecontactedbyphone.Fromthisgroup,15peopleagreedtoparticipate(seef90tnote1).Thescreeninginstrumentwasnotgivenasallsubjectsfromregiontwowereeligibletoparticipatebyvirtueoftheirpropertydamage.ThescreeninginstrumentwaslateradministeredtothesesUbjectsduringtheinterviewsession.SUbjectsfrombothregionswerepaid50dollarsfortheirparticipationintheinterview.MaterialsThefourhourinterviewsessionwascomposedofstructuredinterviews,questionnairesandscalesadministeredinastandardizedsequence.Theseinstrumentswereusedtoassessanextensiverangeoffeelingsandbehaviorsrelatedtothedisaster.Oftheseinstruments,threewereparticularlyrelevanttothepresentreport.Toassessperceivedavailabilityofsocialsupport,theInterpersonalSupportEvaluationList(ISEL)(Cohen,Mermelstein,KamarckandHoberman,1985)wasadministered

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SocialSupport8tosUbjects.Thereporteddataindicatingexcellentreliabilitydataacrossfiveseparatestudies.Internalreliabilityestimatesascomputedbycoefficientalphasrangedfrom.88to.90overall.Subscalereliabilityestimatesrangedfrom.62to.82.Cohenetal.alsoreportadequateconvergentvaliditydatawithstructuralandbehavioralmeasuresofsocialsupport,anddiscriminantvaliditydatawithmeasuresofsocialdesirabilityandsocialanxiety.Thefoursubscalesmeasuretangiblesupport,appraisalsupport(someonefromwhomtoseekadvice),belongingsupport(someonewithwhomtoengageinleisureactivities),andself-esteemsupport(perceptionsofothers'evaluations).Asecondmeasure,theBrief SYmptom Inventory(BSI),wasusedtoprovideinformationonSUbjectawarenessofpsychologicaldistress(DerogatisandSpencer,1982).Twentyitemscomprisingthreesubscales(anxiety,depressionandsomatization)andatotalpsychologicaldistressscorewereobtainedfromthisselfreportinstrument.ReliabilityandvaliditydataforallsubscalesandthetotalpsychologicaldistressscorehavebeenreportedbyDerogatisandMeliseratos(1983),andachieveacceptablepsychometricstandards.Thethirdmeasureconsideredinthisstudywerederivedfromastructuredinterview,BehaviorPriortoandDuringtheDisaster(BPDD),developedbymembersoftheresearchteaminvestigatingthepresentdisaster.Theitemsconsideredinthisstudypertainedtotheindividual'sassessmentoftheseverityof

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Socialsupport9injurytoone'sfamilyandotherhouseholdmembers,andofthedistresscausedbyinjury,loss,ordisruptionoftheindividual'ssocialnetwork.Inadditiontothesemeasures,anumberofothermeasureswereadministeredinordertoassessotheraspectsofthesUbjects'experiencesandresponsestothedisaster(seefootnote2)ProcedureAllsUbjectswereinterviewedwithinsixweeksfollowingthedisaster.Thisrelativelyshortspanoftimebetweentheeventandourcontactwithvictimshelpedtoprovideindicesofmaladjustmentthatwerelikelytobelessaffectedbyinterveningevents.Whendataiscollectedsixmonths(Lindy,GraceandGreen,1981)orevenoneyear(Bolin,1982)afterthedisaster,measurementofresultingpsychopathologyisoftenconfoundedbyvariouseventsandexperiencesthattranspireovertime.Followingtheinterview,anyquestionsfromthesUbjectsabouttheprocedureorinterviewwereansweredbytheinterviewer.ResultsMeanscoresofthedisastervictimsonallthreesubscalesoftheBSIindicatedthattheirlevelofdistresswassignificantlydifferentfromthatofthenormalpopulationfordepression(t=4.96,df=753,P<.01),anxiety(t=7.40,df=753,P<.01),andsomatization(t=2.99,df=753,

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SocialSupport10p<.01,).AsstatedintheMethodssection,victimswereselectedbasedonboththescreeningmeasureandamountofdamage.Thustheselectionwasintentionallybiased.However,onlyoneofthevictimswasincludedinthestudysolelybecauseofthescoreonthescreeningmeasure.Scoresonthedepressionandtotalsymptomscalesweremoderatelypositivelyskewed,andscoresonthesomaticsubscalewereseverelyskewed.Therefore,theformerscalesweretransformedbycomputingthesquarerootsofthescores,whilethelattersubscalewastransformedbycomputingbase10logarithms.Pearson-productmomentcorrelationcoefficientswerecomputedfortheBSI,theISEL,andtheirrespectivesubscalesandarepresentedinTable1.Noneofthesecorrelationsreachedsignificanceexceptfortheintercorrelationsofthesubscales.Bycontrast,severalofthequestionsfromtheBPDDregardingtheseverityofanddistresscausedbydisruptionoftheindividual'ssocialnetworksweresignificantlycorrelatedwithsymptomandsupportvariables(seeTable2).DiscussionTheresultsofthisstudyareonlypreliminaryandmustbetreatedwithsomecaution.Thedatacomefromapilotstudydesignedmainlytodeterminethelength,comprehensibility,andreliabilityofthemeasuresemployed.consequently,noeffortwasmadetoobtainarandomsampleofdisastervictims.

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SocialSupport11Thedataareimportant,however,inthattheyprovideafieldtestoftheeffectsoftheperceivedavailabilityofsocialsupport under conditionsofseverestress. They'also providethefirstfieldtestofthegeneralpopulationInterpersonalSupportEvaluationList(ISEL)asameasureoftheperceivedavailabilityofsocialsupportofvariousfunctionsofsocialsupport.Thelackofsignificantcorrelationsbetweensocialsupportandpsychologicalsymptomatologywassurprisinginlightofpastresearchonthebufferingeffectsofsocialsupport(i.e.,Cohenetal.,1985;Flemingetal.,1985).ThetornadoesandtheirconsequencesobviouslywerehighlystressfulasevidencedbythescoresontheBriefSymptomInventory(BSI)subscales.SeveralpossiblereasonsforthefailureofsocialsupporttoevidenceanybUfferingeffectsfollowingthisstressfuleventareofferedbelow.Thefirstfactorhastodowiththenon-representativenessofthesample.Althoughthosewhowerenotintervieweddidnotdifferfromthosewhowereinterviewedonthescreeningmeasure,itispossiblethatthosewhorefusedtocompletethescreeningmeasuredifferedinsymptomatology,insocialsupport,and/orseverityofdamage.Thesecondistheseverityoftheeventitself.Itispossiblethatthecopingresourcesandperceivedavailabilityofsupportthatareeffectiveinlessthreateningsituationsareinsufficienttodealwiththemajorstressorsarisinginthe

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SocialSupport12firsttwomonthsfollowinganaturaldisaster.Thethirdexplanationinlightofotherdatathathavebeenpresentedisthatthedisruptionofthesocialnetworkandthereciprocaldemandsplaceduponapersonbyanindividual'ssocialnetworkhavenegatedthenormallybeneficialeffectsofperceivedavailabilityofsocialsupport.ThisisparticularlyevidencedbythefactthatthestrongestcorrelationwithsYmptomatologyistheinconvenienceofstayingwithothers.Theseresultssuggestthatmoreattentionshouldbepaidtothesocialdemandsorstrainsthatcanbeexacerbatedbyahighlystressfulevent.

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SocialSupport13ReferencesBaum,A.,Fleming,R.,andDavidson,L.(1983)Naturaldisasterandtechnologicalcatastrophe.EnvironmentandBehavior,15,3,333-354.Baum,A.,Gatchel,R.,andSchaeffer,M.(1983)Emotional,behavioral,andphysiologicaleffectsofchronicstressatThreeMileIsland.JournalofConsultingandClinicalPsychology,51,4,565-572.Bolin,R.(1982)Long-termfamilyrecoveryfromdisaster.Denver:InstituteofBehavioralScience,UniversityofColorado.Boyd,S.T.(1981)Psychologicalreactionsofdisastervictims.SouthAfricanMedicalJournal,60,19,744-748.Bromet,E.(1980)ThreeMileIsland:MentalHealthFindings.FinalReport,NationalInstituteofMentalHealth.Bromet,E.,andDunn,L.(1981)MentalhealthofmothersninemonthsaftertheThreeMileIslandaccident.TheUrbanandSocialChangeReview,14,2,12-15.Chamberlin,B.C.(1980)Mayoseminarsinpsychiatry:Thepsychologicalaftermathofdisaster.JournalofClinicalPsychiatry, 7,238-244.Cohen,S.,Mermelstein,R.,Kamarck,T.,andHoberman,H.(1985)Measuringthefunctionalcomponentsofsocialsupport.InI.G.Sarason&B.Sarason(Eds.),Socialsupport:Theory,research,andapplications(pp.73-94).TheHague,The

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SocialSupport14Netherlands:MartinusNijhoff.Cohen,S.,andwills,T.(1985)Stress,socialsupport,andthebUfferinghypothesis.PsychologicalBulletin,98,2, 357.Collins,D.,Baum,A.,andsinger,J.(1983)copingwithchronicstressatThreeMileIsland:Psychologicalandbiochemicalevidence.HealthPsychology, 2,149-166.Derogatis,L.,andMe1iseratos,N.(1983)TheBriefSymptomInventory:Anintroductoryreport.PsychologicalMedicine, 595-605.Derogatis,L.,andSpencer,P.(1982)TheBriefsymptomInventory(BSI):Administration.Scoring.&ProceduresManual--I.Dynes,R.,andQuarantelli,E.(1976)Thefamilyandcommunitycontextofindividualreactionstodisaster.In:Parad,H.,Resnik,H.,andParadd,L.,eds.EmergencyandDisasterManagement:AMentalHealthSourcebook.Bowie,Md.:CharlesPress,pp.231-244.Fleming,R.,Baum,A.,Gisriel,M.M.,andGatchel,R.J.(1985)MediatinginfluencesofsocialsupportonstressatThreeMileIsland.JournalofHumanStress,Green,B.L.(1982)Assessinglevelsofpsychologicalimpairmentfollowingdisaster.JournalofNervousandMentalDisease,170,9,544-552.Kessler,R.,Price,R.,andwortman,C.(1985)Socialfactorsin

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SocialSupport15psychopathology:Stress,socialsupport,andcopingprocesses.AnnualReviewofPsychology,36,531-572.Kilijanek,T.,andDrabek,T.(1979)Assessing impactsofanaturaldisaster:Afocusontheelderly.TheGerontologist,19,6,555-566.Lifton,R.,andOlson,E.(1976)Thehumanmeaningoftotaldisaster--TheBuffaloCreekexperience.Psychiatry,39,1,1-18.Lindy,J.D.,Grace,M.,andGreen,B.(1981)Survivors:outreachtoareluctantpopulation.AmericanJournalofOrthopsychiatry,51,3,468-478.Logue,J.,Hansen,H.,andStruening,E.(1981)Someindicationsofthelong-termhealtheffectsofanaturaldisaster.PublicHealthReports,96,1,67-79.011endick,D.,andHoffmann,sisterM.(1982)Assessmentofpsychologicalreactionsindisastervictims.JournalofCommunityPsychology,10,2,157-169.Perry,R.,andLindell,M.(1978)Thepsychologicalconsequencesofnaturaldisaster:AreviewofresearchonAmericancommunities.MassEmergencies, d' 2/3,105-115.Penick,E.,Powell,B.,andSieck,W.(1976)Mentalhealthproblemsandnaturaldisaster:Tornadovictims.JournalofCommunityPsychology, 1,64-67.Powell,B.,andPenick,E.(1983)Psychologicaldistressfollowinganaturaldisaster:Aone-yearfollow-upof98

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SocialSupport16floodvictims.JournalofCommunityPsychology,11,7,269276.Taylor,V.(1977)Goodnewsaboutdisaster.PsychologyToday,11,5,93-94,124-126.Titchener,J.,andKapp,F.,andWinget,C.(1976)TheBUffaloCreekSyndrome:SYmptomsandcharacterchangeafteramajordisaster.In:Parad,H.,Resnik,H.,andParad,L.,eds.EmergencyandDisasterManagement:AMentalHealthSourcebook.Bowie,Md.:CharlesPress,pp.283-294.

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SocialSupport17Footnotes1.Informationonthetotalnumberofphonecontactsmadewasnotavailable.2.othermeasuresemployedinthestudyincluded:1)aDemographicsquestionnaire;2) aquestionnaireassessingknowledgeofresourcealternatives;3)anAttributionofResponsibilityforProblemsandSolutions;4) arepressionsensitizationscale;5) aquestionnaireconcerningthemedia;6) aBeliefsquestionnaireassessingvariousperceptionsofpsychologicalsymptomclusters;7)theDiagnosticInterviewSchedule,apsychiatricdiagnosticstructuredinterview;8) aquestionnaireassessinghelp-seekingforthesymptomclustersidentifiedbytheDIS.

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SocialSupport18Table1Intercorrelationsbetweenscalesofsymptomatologyandsocialsupporten=34)Scales1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.1.BSITotal.90*.91*.84*-.10 -.20-.06-.08.032.Depression.72*.67*-.06-.21-.06-.16.013.Anxiety.71*-.01-.08-.01-.04.154.Somatic-.06-.09-.05-.05.015.ISELTotal.92*.94*.91*.87*6.Appraisal.81*.78*.73*7.Tangible.84*.77*8.Belongingness.68*9.Self-esteem p <.001

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SocialSupport19Table2CorrelationsbetweensymptomscalesandinjurytoothersanddistressfrominjurytoothersandsocialnetworkdisruptionBriefsymptomInventoryScalessomaticTotalInjury1.tospouse.21(20)2.tochildren.36**(35)3.tootherfamilyDepression.32*(20).34**(35)Anxiety.27(20).38**(37).04.13(20)(37)*p<.10;**p<.05;***p<.OlNumberofSUbjectsinparentheses

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SocialSupport20Table2CorrelationsbetweensymptomscalesandinjurytoothersanddistressfrominjurytoothersandsocialnetworkdisruptionBriefsymptomInventoryScalesTotalDepressionAnxietysomaticDistressfrominjuryto:7.spouse8.children9.otherrelatives10.friendsDistressfrom:11.relocation.44*(12).38(13).45**(18).34**(32).28*(28).50**(12).38(13).26(18).18(32).19(28).35(12).20(20).46**(18).46***(33).31*(29).36(12).34(13).56***(18).18(33).27*(29)12.inconvenienceofothersstayingwithyou.57***(20).40**(20).57***(22).44**(22) p<.10; **p<.Op;*** p<.OlNumberofSUbjectsinparentheses