Epidemiological assessment in emergency settings: recommendations for enhancing a potentially useful tool

Miller, K. E., & Fernando, G. A. (2008). Epidemiological assessment in emergency settings: recommendations for enhancing a potentially useful tool. Intervention, 6(3), 255-260.

The authors identify several factors that have limited the utility of epidemiological assessments in emergency settings, such as a narrow focus on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an inattention to cultural variations in distress, and a failure to distinguish between normal distress reactions and actual disorder. Rather than rejecting epidemiology altogether, however, as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings do, recommendations are made for ways to enhance the usefulness of large scale mental health and psychosocial assessments in settings of armed conflict and natural disaster.

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