BMC Public Health 2008, 8:92
After the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean basin an Internet based self-screening test was made available in order to facilitate contact with mental health services. Although primarily designed for surviving Swiss tourists as well as relatives and acquaintances of the victims, the screening instrument was open to anyone who felt psychologically affected by this disaster.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the influences between self-declared increased substance use in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster, trauma exposure and current PTSD symptoms.
In women PTSD symptoms and degree of exposure, enlarged the odds of increased alcohol, pharmaceuticals and cannabis use significantly. In men the relationship was more specific: PTSD symptoms and degree of exposure only enlarged the odds of increased pharmaceutical consumption significantly. Increases in alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use were only significantly associated with the degree of PTSD symptoms.
The tsunami was associated with increased substance use. This study not only replicates earlier findings but also suggests for a gender specificity of post-traumatic substance use increase.
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