Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Prediction of posttraumatic stress disorder among adults in flood district

Peng Huang12, Hongzhuan Tan1*, Aizhong Liu1, Shuidong Feng3 and Mengshi Chen1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, Central South University, Xiangya Road 110, Changsha, Hunan 410078, PR China

2 School of Public Health, Nanchang University, Bayi Road 603, Nanchang, Jiangxi 330006, PR China

3 School of Public Health, University of South China, Changsheng Road 28, Hengyang, Hunan 421001, PR China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2010, 10:207  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-207

Published: 26 April 2010



Flood is one of the most common and severe forms of natural disasters. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common disorder among victims of various disasters including flood. Early prediction for PTSD could benefit the prevention and treatment of PTSD. This study aimed to establish a prediction model for the occurrence of PTSD among adults in flood districts.


A cross-sectional survey was carried out in 2000 among individuals who were affected by the 1998 floods in Hunan, China. Multi-stage sampling was used to select subjects from the flood-affected areas. Data was collected through face-to-face interviews using a questionnaire. PTSD was diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria. Study subjects were randomly divided into two groups: group 1 was used to establish the prediction model and group 2 was used to validate the model. We first used the logistic regression analysis to select predictive variables and then established a risk score predictive model. The validity of model was evaluated by using the model in group 2 and in all subjects. The area under the receiver operation characteristic (ROC) curve was calculated to evaluate the accuracy of the prediction model.


A total of 2336 (9.2%) subjects were diagnosed as probable PTSD-positive individuals among a total of 25,478 study subjects. Seven independent predictive factors (age, gender, education, type of flood, severity of flood, flood experience, and the mental status before flood) were identified as key variables in a risk score model. The area under the ROC curve for the model was 0.853 in the validation data. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of this risk score model were 84.0%, 72.2%, 23.4%, and 97.8%, respectively, at a cut-off value of 67.5 in the validation data.


A simple risk score model can be used to predict PTSD among victims of flood.