Lack of perceived social support among immigrants after a disaster: comparative study.

Research paper by Annelieke N AN Drogendijk, Peter G PG van der Velden, Berthold P R BP Gersons, Rolf J RJ Kleber

Indexed on: 06 Oct '11Published on: 06 Oct '11Published in: The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science


Disaster research suggests that immigrant groups who are affected by a disaster receive less emotional support than their native counterparts. However, it is unclear to what extent these differences can be attributed to post-disaster mental health problems or whether they were present before the event.To examine the association between lack of social support, immigration status and victim status, as well as differences in support between immigrants and Dutch natives with disaster-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Social support and psychological distress were assessed among immigrants and Dutch natives, among affected and non-affected individuals 4 years post disaster. Post-traumatic stress disorder was examined in the affected groups.Affected immigrants more often lacked various kinds of perceived social support compared with affected Dutch natives. Remarkably, we found no differences in support between affected immigrants and non-affected immigrants. Immigrants with PTSD differ on only two out of six aspects of support from the Dutch natives with PTSD.Results clearly indicate that differences in support between immigrants and Dutch natives are not so much a consequence of the disaster but were largely present before the disaster.