There has been growing research into the mental health consequences of major disasters. Few studies have controlled for prospectively assessed mental health. This article describes a natural experiment in which 57% of a well-studied birth cohort was exposed to a major natural disaster (the Canterbury, New Zealand, earthquakes in 2010-2011), with the remainder living outside of the earthquake area.

To examine the relationships between the extent of earthquake exposure and mental health outcomes following the earthquakes—net of adjustment for potentially confounding factors related to personal circumstances, prior mental health, and childhood family background

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