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Depression, Anxiety, Quality of Life, and Coping Strategies in People Exposed to Periodic Floods of Capivara River in Imperatriz City – Maranhão State, Brazil

Author(s): Antonio Soares Silva, Edmar Bernardes de Oliveira Junior, Jornê Cabral Macedo, Jusciellyson da Silva Nava, Keven Rufino Menezes, Maria Clara dias de Sousa, Ricardo Freitas de Oliveira, Carlos

Introduction: Urban natural disasters, caused by floods due to river overflows, contribute to the environmental degradation of cities and cause physical and material losses. While neuropsychiatric disorders emerge, so do coping strategies in the affected individuals.

Objective: To investigate the possible relationship between the periodic flooding of Riacho Capivara (Capivara river), in the Vila Ipiranga neighboorhood of the city of Imperatriz – Maranhão State, Brazil, and the appearance or worsening of psychological symptoms in its riverside population, as well as their coping mechanisms to these events.

Materials and Methods: Sixty individuals of both sexes, aged between 15 and 75 years, periodically affected by the overflow of the Riacho Capivara from January to April 2021, were studied. Socioeconomic profiles, anxiety and depression levels were evaluated using the Hamilton scale; quality of life was assessed using the World Health Organization Quality of Life WHOQOL-bref form; and coping strategies, using the Coping Strategies inventory of Folkman and Lazarus.

Results: Most participants were between 15 and 45 years old, most males had elementary school education while females had high school diplomas. For anxiety levels, men were only classified as mild, while women had mild, moderate and, to a lesser extent, severe levels in the Hamilton scale. Mild and moderate degrees of depression were more prevalent in men, while women presented higher percentages of moderate and severe degrees. While, overall, the quality of life was compromised, most subjects used different coping strategies to face adversity.

 Conclusions: The floods of Riacho Capivara adversely impact the quality of life of riverside populations, as they presented high percentages of anxiety and depression according to the Hamilton scale. However, these individuals demonstrate a great capacity for coping and resilience-linked coping strategies.

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