Content » Vol 47, Issue 5

Review article

Participation and quality of life outcomes among individuals with earthquake-related physical disability: A systematic review

Joanne Nunnerley, Jennifer Dunn, Kathryn McPherson, Gary Hooper, Tim Woodfield
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, 8011 Christchurch, New Zealand. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1965


Objective: A literature review to evaluate quality of life and participation outcomes of individuals with earthquake-related physical injury.
Data sources: A systematic review was performed using National Health Service (NHS) Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) guidelines. MEDLINE, Embase, PsychINFO, CINAHL and AMED electronic databases were searched from 1966 to January 2014.
Study selection: Studies that measured quality of life or participation outcomes among individuals who acquired a physical disability as a result of an earthquake injury were included, with no limits on research design.
Data extraction: The search yielded 961 potentially relevant articles after removal of duplicates. Of these, only 8 articles met the inclusion criteria. Studies were rated for quality using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) guidelines.
Data synthesis: A narrative synthesis was performed due to the heterogeneity of the included studies.
Results: Injured earthquake survivors in developing countries experience diminished participation and reduced quality of life. Small sample sizes and lack of uniformity in outcome measurement limit generalizability. No studies from developed countries were identified.
Conclusion: To maximize our understanding of quality of life and participation in injured earthquake survivors, future research should consider both the functional consequences of the injury and the environmental impact of the earthquake. The research should be based on representative samples of the injured earthquake survivors and use validated condition-specific outcome measures that are clearly defined within the publications. In addition, research should include all countries that are affected by earthquakes.

Lay Abstract


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