Psychosocial risk factors for depressive symptoms after the AZF chemical factory explosion in Toulouse, France

Publié le 22 Juin 2010
Mis à jour le 10 septembre 2019

BACKGROUND: on 21 September 2001, a huge explosion occurred in a chemical plant in Toulouse. The hypothesis of the study was that the level of depressive symptoms after an industrial disaster would be related to the intensity of exposure and the characteristics of the exposed population, as well as to the consequences of the disaster during the following months. METHODS: A random sample of the population living close to the plant at the time of the explosion was included in a cross-sectional study, and 811 persons aged >18 years were interviewed at home. The depressive symptoms score was analysed by gender in relation to characteristics of the population before the explosion, immediate exposure to the explosion and post-trauma factors. RESULTS: The mean depressive symptoms scores (+/-SD) 18 months after the explosion were 17.8 (+/-1) in women and 13.5 (+/-1) in men. Age > 45 years and psychiatric treatment in the previous year; high immediate exposure (proximity to the site at the time of the explosion <2500 m); and post-trauma factors such as financial difficulties or physical sequelae during the months after the disaster were related to a higher depressive symptoms score in both men and women. CONCLUSION: In the population living near the site of an industrial explosion, individual vulnerability, exposure and post-trauma factors were associated with depressive symptoms. All three sets of factors need to be taken into account when planning a response to a disaster and reducing the psychological aftermath. (R.A.)

Auteur : Riviere S, Albessard A, Gardette V, Lapierre Duval K, Schwoebel V, Lang T
European journal of public health, 2010, vol. 20, n°. 6, p. 625-30