Post-traumatic stress disorder and resilience among flood affected farmers of Kerala, India

Manu Jose, Jessy Fenn


Background: In mid-August 2018, Kerala witnessed the worst floods since 1924 due to abnormally high rainfall and simultaneous release of water from its dams, resulting in extreme flooding in 13 of the 14 districts in the State. The large-scale flooding impacted millions of people and caused nearly 400 deaths as well as immense damage to property. This was followed by flooding yet again in August 2019, thereby triggering further damage. Farmers whose crops got completely wiped out were one group that were severely affected. This study investigated the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in farmers and also checked the relationship between PTSD and resilience. 

Methods: The sample consisted of 100 farmers from the Alappuzha and Pattanamtitta districts of Kerala which were severely affected by the flood. Data was collected through the PTSD-8, Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) along with sociodemographic data and flood related information.

Results: 74% of the farmers scored high on the test indicating the presence of PTSD. The farmers of interior Pathanamthitta had significantly higher incidence (84%) of PTSD than coastal Alappuzha farmers (66%). The level of damage due to the flood did not have significant correlation with PTSD.  There was significant negative correlation between PTSD and resilience (r=-0.64).

Conclusions: There was high incidence of PTSD among the farmers of central Kerala post the 2018 and 2019 floods and it was higher in interior Pathanamthitta than in coastal Alappuzha which is more used to the vagaries of the waters. Resilience helps to combat PTSD. 


PTSD, Resilience, Flood, Kerala

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