Introduction Survivors of natural disasters in the United States experience significant health ramifications. Women particularly are vulnerable to both post-disaster posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and research has documented that these psychopathological sequelae often are correlated with increased incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV). Understanding the link between these health concerns is crucial to informing adequate disaster response and relief efforts for victims of natural disaster. Purpose The purpose of this review was to report the results of a scoping review on the specific mental health effects that commonly impact women following natural disasters, and to develop a conceptual framework with which to guide future research.
A scoping review of mental and physical health effects experienced by women following natural disasters in the United States was conducted. Articles from 2000-2015 were included. Databases examined were PubMed, PsycInfo, Cochrane, JSTOR, Web of Science, and databases available through ProQuest, including ProQuest Research Library.
A total of 58 articles were selected for inclusion, out of an original 149 that were selected for full-text review. Forty-eight articles, or 82.8%, focused on mental health outcomes. Ten articles, or 17.2%, focused on IPV. Discussion Certain mental health outcomes, including PTSD, depression, and other significant mental health concerns, were recurrent issues for women post-disaster. Despite the strong correlation between experience of mental health consequences after disaster and increased risk of domestic violence, studies on the risk and mediating factors are rare. The specific challenges faced by women and the interrelation between negative mental health outcomes and heightened exposure to IPV following disasters require a solid evidence base in order to facilitate the development of effective interventions. Additional research informed by theory on probable health impacts is necessary to improve development/implementation of emergency relief policy. Bell SA , Folkerth LA . Women's mental health and intimate partner violence following natural disaster: a scoping review. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(6):648-657.