Impaired psychological recovery in the elderly after the Niigata-Chuetsu Earthquake in Japan:a population-based study

Department of Medical Informatics, Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital, Asahimachi-Dori 1, Niigata 951-8520, Japan.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.32). 02/2006; 6:230. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-6-230
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck the Niigata-Chuetsu region of Japan at 5.56 P.M. on the 23rd of October, 2004. The earthquake was followed by sustained occurrence of numerous aftershocks, which delayed reconstruction of community lifelines. Even one year after the earthquake, 9,160 people were living in temporary housing. Such a devastating earthquake and life after the earthquake in an unfamiliar environment should cause psychological distress, especially among the elderly.
Psychological distress was measured using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) in 2,083 subjects (69% response rate) who were living in transient housing five months after the earthquake. GHQ-12 was scored using the original method, Likert scoring and corrected method. The subjects were asked to assess their psychological status before the earthquake, their psychological status at the most stressful time after the earthquake and their psychological status at five months after the earthquake. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis was used to reveal the factor structure of GHQ12. Multiple regression analysis was performed to analyze the relationship between various background factors and GHQ-12 score and its subscale.
GHQ-12 scores were significantly elevated at the most stressful time and they were significantly high even at five months after the earthquake. Factor analysis revealed that a model consisting of two factors (social dysfunction and dysphoria) using corrected GHQ scoring showed a high level of goodness-of-fit. Multiple regression analysis revealed that age of subjects affected GHQ-12 scores. GHQ-12 score as well as its factor 'social dysfunction' scale were increased with increasing age of subjects at five months after the earthquake.
Impaired psychological recovery was observed even at five months after the Niigata-Chuetsu Earthquake in the elderly. The elderly were more affected by matters relating to coping with daily problems.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Post-disaster recovery is a constantly changing and developing process. The authors conducted three real-name follow-up surveys at 1, 12 and 18 months after the Yao'an earthquake, which had a surface wave magnitude of 6.0. They also calculated recovery ratios at different times and drew post-earthquake domestic life recovery curves. Based on the recovery curves, the time trajectory of domestic life recovery takes on an approximate S-type development and change process. The recovery time process of domestic life can be divided into four periods: emergency period (weeks 0–2(5)), early recovery period (weeks 2(5)–24), rapid recovery period (weeks 24–34) and late recovery period (weeks 34–60(80)).
    Disasters 10/2014; 38(4). DOI:10.1111/disa.12083 · 0.69 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present study examined actigraphically evaluated sleep on the days sur-rounding the greatest earthquake in Japanese history. The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred unexpectedly on the third day of a 1-week actigraphy measurement. The subjects were eight elderly (73.1 ± 4.3 years, mean ± SD) individuals living in Sendai city, one of the largest cities damaged by the earthquake. All of the subjects wore their actigraph devices until 2 days after the earthquake. The results showed that wake after sleep onset (WASO) was significantly increased (118 ± 29 min, mean ± SE) the first night after the earthquake compared with pre-earthquake values (35 ± 12 min). The subjects described being awoken by frequent aftershocks the first night. This sleep debt was recovered the next day through significant increases in daytime napping and the length of nocturnal sleep periods resulting from earlier bedtimes. An electrical blackout that lasted 2–3 days seemed to be associated with earlier bedtimes by inducing a dark and cold environment. One subject who evacuated to a school gymnasium after the earthquake suffered severely disturbed sleep due to cold temperatures (nocturnal WASO over 180 min). These findings suggest that the environmental factors related to disrupted infrastructure might have considerable impacts on sleep in the first several days after the catastrophic disaster. The findings should be considered for future disaster preparedness initiatives.
    Natural Hazards 01/2014; 72(2). DOI:10.1007/s11069-014-1048-0 · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to assess psychological distress (PD) in earthquake-stricken communities with regard to the extent of property damage for 3 years following the 2004 Niigata-Chuetsu earthquake in Japan.
    Journal of Public Health 08/2014; DOI:10.1093/pubmed/fdu052 · 2.30 Impact Factor


Available from