Dissertation Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

H. Peter Swanson

Second Advisor

Laren Kurtz

Third Advisor

David Sedlacek



This dissertation explored the prevalence of trauma exposure, complicated grief, and related symptoms among survivors and members of Zion Seventh-day Adventist Church who had lost family members in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.


The sample included participants who were members of Zion Seventh-day Adventist Church (n =39) who had either personally witnessed the 2010 Haiti earthquake and/or had lost family members in this traumatic event. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to explore the relations between the scale items of the IES (Impact of Event Scale) as well as between the subscales and other variables of interest.


There were no participants in the subclinical or mild range, 71.8% in the moderate range, and 28.2% in the severe range. In addition, there was a significant positive correlation between the intrusive and avoidant subscales, r (37) =.48, p=.002.


These findings suggest that 9 months after the Haiti 2010 earthquake, significant amounts of post-traumatic stress symptoms were observed among members of the Zion Seventh-day Adventist Church who had lost family members in this disaster. This study also suggests that grief symptoms among this bereaved population have a significant correlation with PTSD symptoms. Further research using additional methodologies and measurement techniques is needed to determine whether or not these patterns remain consistent.

Subject Area

Haitian Earthquake, Haiti, 2010; Suffering--Religious aspects; Grief; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Adjustment (Psychology); Haitian American Seventh-day Adventists--Florida--Miami; Zion Seventh-day Adventist Church (Miami, Fla.)

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