Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):14, 1, , e115013.
Study surveyed survivors of The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island to explore the impact of emotional trauma on psychological outcomes. One hundred four participants completed a 130-question survey that assessed demographic (gender, age, race, marital status, number of children, pre-fire employment status); medical (presence and percentage of burn injury); and occupational (time off work, post-fire employment status) factors. The mean age of respondents was 32 years, 62 percent were male, and 47 percent experienced a physical injury. Primary outcomes were posttraumatic stress (Impact of Event Scale – Revised) and depressive (Beck Depression Inventory) symptoms. Linear regression was used to examine differences in symptom profiles between those with and without physical injuries. The free-response section of the survey was analyzed qualitatively to compare psychological sequelae of survivors with and without physical injuries. The primary analysis found that the survivors who sustained burn injuries from the fire had no more likelihood of experiencing posttraumatic stress symptoms or depressive symptoms than those without burn injuries. In the qualitative analysis, the emotional trauma that survivors experienced was a major, common theme regardless of physical injury. Survivors without physical injuries were more likely to experience survivor guilt, helplessness, self-blame, and bitterness. Despite the post-fire challenges described, most survivors wrote about themes of recovery and renewal. These findings suggest a need to understand individual factors influencing positive outcomes for fire survivors.