This study examines stress and mood outcomes in community volunteers who undertook one week's worth of post-disaster relief work in L'Aquila, Italy, which had been hit by an earthquake four months earlier. The study team obtained pre- and post-relief work data from 130 volunteers involved in activities such as preparing food for the displaced, cleaning the camps and distributing clean linen. The Perceived Stress Scale, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Profile of Mood States were administered at the start and at the end of the aid activities. Psychopathological symptoms and empathy were assessed in the beginning, using the Symptom Checklist 90 Revised and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, respectively. The results show that, following the assistance work, volunteers displayed decreases in perceived stress, general distress, anxiety and anger, as well as increases in positive emotions. The empathy facets empathic concern and personal distress showed different patterns in modulating the post-disaster relief work adaptation for some of the mood outcomes.
- Disaster relief