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Friday, May 6, 2011

Quake's impact on wellbeing studied

Quake's impact on wellbeing studied

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 07/05/2011
 
Female tertiary students ate more and cried more than their male counterparts after the February earthquake, a Lincoln University study shows

The study questioned 684 students from the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) and Canterbury and Lincoln universities six weeks after the quake.

They were asked about the effects on their studies, finances, shopping behaviour, sleep patterns, diet and anxiety levels.

All three institutions have had disruptions to teaching.

Study author Associate Professor Charles Lamb, of Lincoln University, said there was a distinct difference between how men and women's health and wellbeing were affected by the quake.

More women reported problems with concentration and anxiety levels.

They were more overwhelmed by daily activities and more tearful and nervous after the quake.

Women reported that they were eating more after the quake.

"It's interesting to have statistical validation that it's actually happening," Lamb said.

Job availability and fear of further quakes would drive a quarter of tertiary students out of Christchurch, the study showed.

Twenty-five per cent of students indicated they would be unlikely to stay in Christchurch when they had completed their studies, while 8.5 per cent were uncertain of their plans. The availability of jobs (57 per cent) and fear of further quakes (22.8 per cent) were the main reasons for planning to leave, the study found.

Lamb said students saw a city that had been demolished and a social life in ruins, so why stay?

Tertiary institutions should be worried, given the number of students who had already left and might not return, he said.

There were "small lights of enthusiasm", with 6 per cent of students thinking the earthquake would create more work during the rebuild, Lamb said.

THE STUDY FOUND

28.9 per cent of students questioned drank more alcohol after the February earthquake.
22.5 per cent suffered some form of financial hardship.
25 per cent plan to leave Christchurch after their studies are completed.
33.9 per cent are storing food in case of aftershocks.
46 per cent suffered disturbed sleep patterns.
67 per cent had their social lives affected.

- The Press

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