RESIDENT: 18 Months After the Fort McMurray Wildfires: Mental Health Effects in Primary Care Patients are Amplified by Social-Demographic and Clinical Antecedents as well as Exposure Related Factors

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Presenting Author(s): Dr. Shahram Moosavi

Co-Author(s): Dr. Vincent Agyapong

Date and time: 23 Mar 2019 from 15:10 to 15:30

Location: Hawthorn C  Floor Map


  1. To understand the prevalence rates for likely Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder following the Fort McMurray wildfires;
  2. To understand the demographic, social and mental health correlates or predictors for likely psychiatric disorders following a wildfire; and
  3. To explore protective factors against mental health disorders after wildfires.

Literature References

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To assess prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) , Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder
(GAD) and in patients attending an out-of-hours general practice medical clinic in Fort McMurray and to determine the predictors of
likely MDD, GAD and PTSD in the respondents.

A quantitative cross-sectional survey was used to collect data through self-administered paper-based questionnaires to determine likely
PTSD, MDD and GAD using the PTSD Checklist for DSM 5 Part 3, PHQ 9 and the GAD-7 respectively. Data were analyzed with SPSS
version 20 using uni-variate analysis with the Chi-Square Tests.

Eighteen months after the wildfires the one month prevalence rates for likely PTSD was 13.6%, likely MDD was 24.8% and likely GAD
was 18.0%. After controlling for other factors in a logistic regression model, there were statistically significant associations between
multiple socio-demographic, clinical and exposure related variables and the likelihood respondents presented with PTSD, MDD and
GAD 18 months after the wildfires. There were also associations between the likely PTSD, MDD and GAD and abuse/dependence on
alcohol and substances in respondents at 18 months.

Our study has established prevalence rates for PTSD, MDD and GAD among patients attending an out-of-hours general medical clinic
18 months after the Fort McMurray wildfires. Further studies are needed to explore the impact of population based mental health
interventions on the long term mental health effects of the wildfires.

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