Thailand Tsumani Surveys – Summary of Results
Foundation for Human Enrichment
Analysis prepared July 2006
The following report summarizes the results from surveys administered to 66 Tsunami survivors. Of these 66, a total of 53 persons participated in one or more SE sessions facilitated by Foundation for Human Enrichment Staff. Another 13 surveys were completed by Tsunami survivors who did not participate in SE sessions. There were 22 survivors who were surveyed in February 2005 and again in February 2006. Thus, a small number of participants were located and have one year follow-up data (n=22). This summary highlights several of the key findings from the 53 survivors who participated in SE sessions and summarizes some of the data from the one year follow-up. Detailed tables which report the totality of responses are available. All of the results should be interpreted with caution given the small sample size and lack of an equivalent comparison group. Approximately one-third of the survey respondents were male and two-thirds were female. The age of participants ranged from 2 to 75 years with an average age of 39.
According to survey data, the vast majority of participants (89%) received one SE session and 11% of participants received two or more sessions.
While the number of responses was small (n=22), 36% of those surveyed approximately one year after the Tsunami were living in the Nam Kem Village. Thirty-two percent were living in the Re-settlement Foundation Housing on pubic land, 18% were still living in camp, and 5% were living in re-settlement houses on their previously owned property.
SYMPTOMS BEFORE TREATMENT
Before receiving treatment, the most frequently reported symptom was physical pain in the body. Of those with reported symptoms, physical pain comprised 45% of the first reported symptom. The second most commonly reported symptom was sleep problems (comprising 30%). Other commonly reported symptoms included worry/anxiety/fear, auditory/visual flashbacks, and other injuries to the body.
The most common symptom observed by a therapist was flat affect. The second most common observed symptom included anxiety. Of those with observed symptoms, flat affect comprised 38% of the first observed symptom. Other commonly observed symptoms included problems with posture and breathing problems.
Participants’ symptoms were assessed immediately after the first SE Session (n=53). Results included:
- After the session 67% of participants showed complete or partial improvement in reported symptoms
- After the session 95% of participants exhibited complete or partial improvement in therapist observed symptoms
IMPROVEMENT A FEW DAYS
Participants’ symptoms also were ranked a few days after an SE Session (n=16). On average, survivors were assessed within six days of their initial session. Results should be interpreted with caution given the small sample size. Results included:
- A few days after the session, 90% of participants showed complete or partial improvement in reported symptoms.
- A few days after the session, 84% of participants exhibited complete or partial improvement in therapist observed symptoms
IMPROVEMENT ONE YEAR
Participants’ symptoms also were ranked one year after the first SE Session (n=22). Again, results should be interpreted with caution given the small sample size. Results included:
- A year after the session, 90% of participants showed complete or partial improvement in reported symptoms.
- A year after the session, 96% of participants exhibited complete or partial improvement in therapist observed symptoms
Participants were also asked about commonly experienced symptoms at the one year follow-up. Results included:
- 86% of participants reported no appetite problems
- 82% of participants reported no sleep problems
- 90% of participants reported no nightmares
- 75% of participants reported that they were not on medication after the Tsunami
Gender and Age Analyses
Differences in symptoms and improvement among participants were examined based on gender and age group. While sample sizes were small, the following themes were identified:
- On average females (n=34) reported higher levels of physical body pain compared to men (n=19). For example, 50% of women reported physical pain as their first reported symptom compared to 37% of men.
- Interestingly, females showed greater improvement than males in symptoms. After the first session, an average of 71% of females showed complete or partial improvement in reported symptoms compared to 59% of males. These findings were similar when men and women were assessed a few days after the session and after one year.
- When survivors from different age groups were compared, it was found that those age 40 to 49 reported the highest levels of physical pain in the body. Specifically, 62% of symptoms among 40 to 49 year olds were characterized as physical pain. Other age groups (Ages 2 to 15, 20 to 39, and 50 to 75) reported less frequency of physical pain.
- Participants from different age groups showed about the same level of improvement of symptoms after participation in SE Sessions.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
The survey also collected information about participants’ individual experiences. The stories and comments from participants detailed heart wrenching stories of the death of family members, losing homes, and discussed high levels of the survivors’ anxiety and fear. Some of the comments included:
- Comment #1 – one month after Tsunami: “His mother, sister, and grandmother died in the waves. Father was trying to hold all their hands but couldn’t. He was tumbled by waves and survived by clinging to a floating refrigerator. Has been searching for grandmother’s body. Sees the wave when he closes his eyes.”
- Comment #2 – one month after Tsunami: “Was village leader in charge of roads. His mother died in waves, body not found. He was a fisherman. Said he’d never go back to the water. Afraid doctors will want to amputate his leg since they are doing many amputations.”
- Comment #3 – one year after Tsunami: “Family worried he’ll die because he’s not eating. Described ghost in his stomach. At follow-up he said the ‘ghost was gone’. ”
- Comment #4 – one year after Tsunami: “Lonely. Miss living in village and seeing friends. Afraid another tsunami coming.”
- Comment #5 – one year after Tsunami: “Daughter (age 8) drowned. Has no other children. Lives with her mother in the village. Have rebuilt on the land where previous house was.”
- Comment #6 – one year after Tsunami: “Feels stronger, relies on her friends in the village for comfort because she knows she’s not the only one afraid. Would move far away if she had the money.”
- Comment #7 – one year after Tsunami: “She lives right at the edge of the sea and was saved by clinging to a coconut tree. Now only that one tree remains. Each day she offers the tree a fresh flower.”