New research has found Cantabrians with serious quake-related trauma are significantly more likely to have mental health conditions than those less affected by the earthquakes.
The Otago University study said Cantabrians were 40 percent more at risk of suffering major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and twice as likely to be addicted to smoking.
However, for those who experienced minimal trauma, loss, or disruption associated with the quakes, the psychological impact was less strong.
The study by University of Otago, Christchurch researchers, was published in the latest edition of the JAMA Psychiatry Journal.
Research leader David Fergusson said it appeared the psychological impact could have been worse, had community spirit not been so strong.
He said it was clear most of those facing disasters were resilient and did not develop mental health problems.