Urban flooding leads to psychological trauma among Hyderabad residents: Study

The study further states that when a disaster strikes, some may recover and some may not, and so the disaster alone is not capable of producing a long-term impact.
Urban flooding, which has now become an annual affair, is drastically affecting the mental health of Hyderabadis
Urban flooding, which has now become an annual affair, is drastically affecting the mental health of Hyderabadis

HYDERABAD: Urban flooding, which has now become an annual affair, is drastically affecting the mental health of Hyderabadis while people from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds are struggling to recover from the traumatic experience. A new research by JNU’s Centre for Study of Regional Development (CSRD) titled, “A study to assess the effect of socio-economic vulnerability to urban flooding and self efficacy of mental health at Hyderabad city”, quantifies this psychological trauma. 

The study, the findings of which were published in the National Institute of Disaster Management Journal on Health Adaptation to Climate Change, analysed 221 individuals from Domalguda, Chaderghat and Malakpet, which are prone to frequent floods, and calculated their mental health score and also their vulnerability and self-efficacy scores.

For measuring their mental health, the Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ) by WHO was used to find the level of stress and emotional problems and it was scored out of 20, with higher the score implying poorer mental health. The research found the average mental health SRQ at 6.15 and the highest SRQ score put at 18 by individuals, indicating very poor mental health.

The study also calculated the individual’s socio-economic vulnerability, by assigning a weight to each variable like the type of house, cleanliness in locality, distance to medical facility, education levels, any chronic illness and income. In this aspect too, higher score was indicative of higher vulnerability with a score of 1 implying highest vulnerability. The analysis of sample group found an average vulnerability score of 0.40 with highest score being 0.70. 

The research said: “The relationship between mental health and socioeconomic vulnerability was significantly positive. Socio-economically vulnerable populations to floods are more susceptible to  mental health issues.” While the mental health was poorer in socio-economic vulnerable individuals, the general sense of ability to handle these daily struggles and stressful events was also low. To prove this, the research used a scale between 10 to 40 for the sample size to mark their self-efficacy and higher score implied better ability to do so. The average score on this scale was 30.83. 

The study further states that when a disaster strikes, some may recover and some may not, and so the disaster alone is not capable of producing a long-term impact. But the other stress of socio-economic conditions adds to the mental toll.

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