High-level Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms of the Residents in Fukushima Temporary Housing: Bio-psycho-social lmpacts by Nuclear Power Plant Disaster

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Takuya Tsujiuchi, Kumiko Komaki, Takahiro lwagaki, Kazutaka Masuda, Maya Yamaguchi, Chikako Fukuda, Noriko Ishikawa, Ryuhei Mochida, Takaya Kojima, Koichi Negayama, Atsushi Ogihara, Hiroaki Kumano

Backgrounds: Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster occurred following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11,2011. It bears comparison with the incident in Chernobyl in 1986 in the degree of radiological contamination to the surrounding environment.164,218 residents were displaced losing their home-land by this serious incident, of which 97,321 were relocated to other regions within the Fukushima prefecture, and 57,135 residents were relocated to other prefectures. The evacuees from Fukushima can be considered the largest number of internally displaced persons’ or ‘domestic refugees’ in Japan after the world war two.

Objective:This study investigated the scale of post-traumatic stress(PTS)symptoms in the evacuees as of two years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. It also tried to identify the impact of bio-psycho-social factors related to PTS symptoms.

Samples and methods:Questionnaire survey was conducted by Waseda University and Japan Broadcasting Corporation(NHK). 2,425 households living at temporary housings within Fukushima prefecture were asked to answer the Impact of Event Scale-Revised(IES-R)and the self-report questionnaires that we generated in order to evaluate the damage by the disaster in relation to several bio-psycho-social factors in refugee lives. There were 745 replies(the cooperation rate;30.7%),of which 661 were analyzed. Besides, multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to examine several bio-psycho-social factors as predictors for probable PTSD.

Results:High level PTS symptoms were found. The mean score of IES-R was 34.20±20.56, and 62.56%were over 24/25 cut-off point determined as broadly defined PTSD which means high-risk presence of probable PTSD. The significant differences by chi-square test of high-risk subjects were found among economic difficulty (P=.000), concerns about compensation (p=.000), lost jobs (p=.023), unsatisfying housing (p=.025), unsatisfying environment around temporary housing (p=.000), having chronic disease (p=.003), aggravation of chronic disease (p=.000), affection of new disease (p=.000), lack of necessary information (p=.000), family split-up (prO31), and lack of acquaintance support (p=.000). By the result of multiple logistic regression analysis, the significant predictors of probable PTSD were economic difficulty (OR:2.34,95%CI:1.30-4.24), concerns about compensation (OR:4.16,95% CI 1.26-13.76), aggravation of chronic disease  (OR:2.94,95%CI:1.63-5.30), affection of new disease (OR:2.20,95%CI:1.21-3.99), and lack of acquaintance support (OR:1.92,95%CI:1.07-3.42).

Conclusion:The findings revealed that there is a high-risk presence of probable PTSD strongly related to a number of bio-psycho-social factors due to the nuclear power plant disaster and its consequent evacuation. Our findings underscore the specific characteristics of the nuclear disaster as man-made disaster. Since the socio-economic problems such as compensation and reparation have not been solved, it is suggested that prolonged uncertainty regarding the insufficient salvation of the evacuees might account for the high-level PTS symptoms.

(Received August 9,2015;accepted January 9,2016)

High-level Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms of the Residents in Fukushima Temporary Housing: Bio-psycho-social lmpacts by Nuclear Power Plant Disaster (PDF 10.4MB)

http://csrp.jp/posts/2708

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