Personality predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder in orphaned survivors of the Sichuan Earthquake
Xingli Zhang, PhD, Mingxin Liu, PhD, and Jiannong Shi (Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China), and Li Cheng, PhD (Beijing Normal University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China), 2010, 38(8), 1057–1060

Published in New Zealand, earthquakes currently have a special relevance to the team that edits and publishes this journal.

At 12.51 pm on February 22, 2011, the second biggest New Zealand city, Christchurch, was ripped apart by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. For 40 minutes the ground barely stopped shaking – 185 lives were lost and 11,432 were injured.

Christchurch will rebuild and could well become one of the world’s most “up to the minute” and dynamic cities. But this will take time, not only to rebuild structures, but to rebuild lives. In particular, such rebuilding will have to take place in the lives of children who lost a parent in the earthquake – this happened to 79 children in the February Christchurch earthquake.

This article focuses on posttraumatic stress disorder in orphaned survivors of the earlier 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China – it was an obvious “pick” for this Editor!

In the 2008 Sichuan earthquake study 196 preearthquake and 116 postearthquake orphans participated in the study. Half a year after the earthquake, they completed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire for Children, and the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale. The analysis showed that the Neuroticism score was the strongest predictor of the severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms.

For the preearthquake orphans, the Extraversion score predicted less Arousal. The Lie trait predicted Intrusion and Arousal positively.

However, for the postearthquake orphans, only the Extraversion trait predicted Avoidance.

The authors conclude that when we try to help posttraumatic stress victims, such intervention will be more effective if based on detailed pretrauma information such as personality and individual differences of the victim.

Robert A. C. (Bob) Stewart, PhD | Editor-in-Chief
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal