Disasters traumatically expose normal populations to severe threats to life, deaths of relatives and massive environmental destruction. Epidemiological studies found that women would be more vulnerable to disaster than men. In this study, we examined gender differences in short-term psychological effect of the 1999 earthquake in Turkey on adult survivors. A total of 184 subjects (79 males and 105 females) who used a psychiatric service were interviewed within 6 - 10 weeks after the earthquake. All subjects were assessed using a modified version of the Mississippi Scale for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, and four subscales ( depression, anxiety, hostility and somatization) of the Symptom Check List (SCL-90-R). Women had higher mean total Mississippi Scale scores than men (84.29 vs. 78.72; PB/0.05). Women scored higher on the Beck Depression Inventory and the Beck Hopelessness Scale than men (respectively 16.3 vs. 10.4; P < 0.001 and 7.5 vs. 6.0; P < 0.05). Women had significantly higher depression (1.40 vs. 0.94; P < 0.001), anxiety ( 1.46 vs. 1.12; P < 0.05) and somatization (1.31 vs. 0.84; P < 0.001) subscale scores of the SCL-90-R than men. These findings indicate that women may experience more severe psychological reactions than men after a disastrous earthquake.