To assess and estimate the personality changes that occurred before and after the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila and to model the ways that the earthquake affected adolescents according to gender and sport practice. The consequences of earthquakes on psychological health are long lasting for portions of the population, depending on age, gender, social conditions and individual experiences. Sports activities are considered a factor with which to test the overall earthquake impact on individual and social psychological changes in adolescents.
Before and after design.
Population-based study conducted in L'Aquila, Italy, before and after the 2009 earthquake.
Before the earthquake, a random sample of 179 adolescent subjects who either practised or did not practise sports (71 vs 108, respectively). After the earthquake, of the original 179 subjects, 149 were assessed a second time.
Primary outcome measure
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory—Adolescents (MMPI-A) questionnaire scores, in a supervised environment.
An unbalanced split plot design, at a 0.05 significance level, was carried out using a linear mixed model with quake, sex and sports practice as predictive factors. Although the overall scores indicated no deviant behaviours in the adolescents tested, changes were detected in many individual content scale scores, including depression (A-dep score mean ± SEM: before quake =47.54±0.73; after quake =52.67±0.86) and social discomfort (A-sod score mean ± SEM: before quake =49.91±0.65; after quake =51.72±0.81). The MMPI-A profiles show different impacts of the earthquake on adolescents according to gender and sport practice.
The differences detected in MMPI-A scores raise issues about social policies required to address the psychological changes in adolescents. The current study supports the idea that sport should be considered part of a coping strategy to assist adolescents in dealing with the psychological effects of the earthquakes on their personalities.
Dimensions of adolescents' well-being after earthquakes and natural disasters.
‘Before and after’ personality assessment in adolescents through a disrupting disaster like an earthquake affecting an urban environment, using sports practice as the main covariate.
Sport as a par of a coping strategy to assist adolescents in dealing with the psychological effects of an earthquake on their personalities.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Before and after study, determined by the occurrence of an unpredictable disaster event.
Restriction of cofactors analysis to gender and sports practice.
Design unfit for adjustment for socioeconomic status.