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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UAB Investigates Psychological Impacts in Aftermath of Technological Disasters

In a recent article, Dr. Lisa C. McCormick, assistant professor in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham — with department colleagues Mr. Gabriel S. Tajeu, doctoral candidate, and Dr. Joshua C. Klapow, associate professor — reviews the literature pertaining to psychological impacts in the aftermath of technological disasters, focusing on the immediate psychological and mental health consequences emergency department physicians and first responders may encounter in the aftermath of such disasters.

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[Photo: Dr. Lisa C. McCormick]

First receivers see a wide spectrum of psychological distress, including acute onset of psychiatric disorders, the exacerbation of existing psychological and psychiatric conditions, and widespread symptomatology even in the absence of a diagnosable disorder.

The team notes that the informal community support systems that exist after a natural disaster may not be available to communities affected by a technological disaster, which leads to a need for more formal mental health supportive services.

“Mental Health Consequences of Chemical and Radiological Emergencies: A Systematic Review” was published online in November in the journal Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America.

Journal article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25455669?dopt=Abstract