Data gathering for a study in Puerto Rico a five year study of psychopathology and psychological symptoms in Puerto Rico was concluded on March 1988. It is one of a handful of prospective and retrospective stress epidemiology studies. The former population survey provided the baseline stress epidemiology studies. The former population survey provide the baseline information to study the mental health impact of a major stressor: fatal floods and mudslides which occurred in Puerto Rico in October, 1095. The project re-interviewed 375 persons from the original prevalence survey and added 537 persons who were interviewed for the first time, using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS), for a total of 912 persons in the data set. Large number of persons, exposed to this stressor at different levels were obtained with unusually high response rates. The findings of this epidemiologic study to date reveal a tendency for those exposed to have higher levels of symptoms than those not exposed. This pattern was more clear in the cross-sectional data than in the panel data, possibly due to a """"""""report effect"""""""" which may have influenced the prospective study data, and or to an anchoring to the stressor in the retrospective study. The present application aims to analyze in more detail these methodological artifacts in order to provide a more thorough understanding of the results. It also aIms to complete the analyses of the impact of the disaster using a psychosocial stress perspective, analyzing the prevalence of new symptoms and the reappearance of old ones. New outcomes of special significance for our population, namely, suicidal ideation and behavior and """"""""ataques de nervios"""""""" are also included. Results to date have suggested that the persons' social support systems is related to mental health status. Since it is possible that social supports are themselves functions of mental disorders or its risks factors (or absence thereof), a thorough analysis of this question is also proposed. Furthermore, the scope of the study will be expanded to include the cross-cultural interpretation of our findings, by merging our data bank with two other data sets, one in St. Louis, Missouri, and the other in Mexico City. The proposed work will thus add to existing knowledge on cross-cultural stress research, as well as enhance the understanding of methodology in psychiatric epidemiology.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Epidemiologic and Services Research Review Committee (EPS)
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University of Puerto Rico Med Sciences
Schools of Medicine
San Juan
United States
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Guarnaccia, P J; Canino, G; Rubio-Stipec, M et al. (1993) The prevalence of ataques de nervios in the Puerto Rico disaster study. The role of culture in psychiatric epidemiology. J Nerv Ment Dis 181:157-65
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Guarnaccia, P J; Rubio-Stipec, M; Canino, G (1989) Ataques de nervios in the Puerto Rican Diagnostic Interview Schedule: the impact of cultural categories on psychiatric epidemiology. Cult Med Psychiatry 13:275-95

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