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Summer of sorrow: measuring exposure to and impacts of trauma after Queensland’s natural disasters of 2010–2011

The Australian state of Queensland experienced severe flooding in the summer of 2010–2011; more than 78% of the state was declared a disaster zone1 and damage to public infrastructure totalled over $6 billion.2 Climate change projections predict more intense and more frequent weather-related disasters and increasing public health burdens.3 Experiencing traumatic events can be causally related to mood and anxiety disorders, potentially initiating psychosocial stressors (eg, unemployment or underemployment, displacement, relationship disturbance), and further symptoms.4 Emotional trauma leading to adverse psychiatric outcomes is an important and increasingly likely public health concern.

Our aims in this study were to quantify the public health burden of a widespread natural disaster by socio-demographic characteristics for (i) exposure or being affected by damage; and (ii) emotional effects.

Methods

Data were collected as part of the Queensland Government’s annual Self-Reported…

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