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      SARS-related Perceptions in Hong Kong

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          Abstract

          To understand different aspects of community responses related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), 2 population-based, random telephone surveys were conducted in June 2003 and January 2004 in Hong Kong. More than 70% of respondents would avoid visiting hospitals or mainland China to avoid contracting SARS. Most respondents believed that SARS could be transmitted through droplets, fomites, sewage, and animals. More than 90% believed that public health measures were efficacious means of prevention; 40.4% believed that SARS would resurge in Hong Kong; and ≈70% would then wear masks in public places. High percentages of respondents felt helpless, horrified, and apprehensive because of SARS. Approximately 16% showed signs of posttraumatic symptoms, and ≈40% perceived increased stress in family or work settings. The general public in Hong Kong has been very vigilant about SARS but needs to be more psychologically prepared to face a resurgence of the epidemic.

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          Most cited references 32

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          The MOS 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36). I. Conceptual framework and item selection.

          A 36-item short-form (SF-36) was constructed to survey health status in the Medical Outcomes Study. The SF-36 was designed for use in clinical practice and research, health policy evaluations, and general population surveys. The SF-36 includes one multi-item scale that assesses eight health concepts: 1) limitations in physical activities because of health problems; 2) limitations in social activities because of physical or emotional problems; 3) limitations in usual role activities because of physical health problems; 4) bodily pain; 5) general mental health (psychological distress and well-being); 6) limitations in usual role activities because of emotional problems; 7) vitality (energy and fatigue); and 8) general health perceptions. The survey was constructed for self-administration by persons 14 years of age and older, and for administration by a trained interviewer in person or by telephone. The history of the development of the SF-36, the origin of specific items, and the logic underlying their selection are summarized. The content and features of the SF-36 are compared with the 20-item Medical Outcomes Study short-form.
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            Impact of Event Scale: a measure of subjective stress.

            Clinical, field, and experimental studies of response to potentially stressful life events give concordant findings: there is a general human tendency to undergo episodes of intrusive thinking and periods of avoidance. A scale of current subjective distress, related to a specific event, was based on a list of items composed of commonly reported experiences of intrusion and avoidance. Responses of 66 persons admitted to an outpatient clinic for the treatment of stress response syndromes indicated that the scale had a useful degree of significance and homogeneity. Empirical clusters supported the concept of subscores for intrusions and avoidance responses.
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              Psychological sequelae of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

              The scope of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, was unprecedented in the United States. We assessed the prevalence and correlates of acute post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among residents of Manhattan five to eight weeks after the attacks. We used random-digit dialing to contact a representative sample of adults living south of 110th Street in Manhattan. Participants were asked about demographic characteristics, exposure to the events of September 11, and psychological symptoms after the attacks. Among 1008 adults interviewed, 7.5 percent reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of current PTSD related to the attacks, and 9.7 percent reported symptoms consistent with current depression (with "current" defined as occurring within the previous 30 days). Among respondents who lived south of Canal Street (i.e., near the World Trade Center), the prevalence of PTSD was 20.0 percent. Predictors of PTSD in a multivariate model were Hispanic ethnicity, two or more prior stressors, a panic attack during or shortly after the events, residence south of Canal Street, and loss of possessions due to the events. Predictors of depression were Hispanic ethnicity, two or more prior stressors, a panic attack, a low level of social support, the death of a friend or relative during the attacks, and loss of a job due to the attacks. There was a substantial burden of acute PTSD and depression in Manhattan after the September 11 attacks. Experiences involving exposure to the attacks were predictors of current PTSD, and losses as a result of the events were predictors of current depression. In the aftermath of terrorist attacks, there may be substantial psychological morbidity in the population.
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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                [* ]The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Joseph T.F. Lau, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, 5/F, School of Public Health, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong; fax: 852- 2645-3098; email: jlau@ 123456cuhk.edu.hk
                Journal
                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infect. Dis
                EID
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                1080-6040
                1080-6059
                March 2005
                : 11
                : 3
                : 417-424
                3298267
                15757557
                04-0675
                10.3201/eid1103.040675
                Categories
                Research
                Research

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