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Effects of Disaster Damage and Working Conditions on Mental Health Among Public Servants 16 Months After the Great East Japan Earthquake

  • Maiko Fukasawa (a1), Yuriko Suzuki (a1), Akiko Obara (a2) and Yoshiharu Kim (a1) (a3)



To explore whether stressors after a disaster have later effects on the mental health of public servants who engage in disaster response and to estimate the proportion of those experiencing persistent mental distress.


We analyzed the data of health surveys conducted in Miyagi Prefecture for all prefectural public servants at 2, 7, and 16 months after the Great East Japan Earthquake (n=3174). We investigated relationships between mental distress (defined as K6≥10) at 16 months after the earthquake and earthquake damage and working conditions at 2 months. We also calculated the proportion of participants who scored K6≥10 on all 3 surveys.


The experience of living someplace other than one’s own home was significantly related with mental distress at 16 months after the earthquake. Few participants consistently scored K6≥10 throughout all 3 surveys.


The effects of stressors in the aftermath of a disaster could remain for a long time. Few public servants experienced persistent mental distress. Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:622–630


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Maiko Fukasawa, Department of Adult Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1 Ogawa-Higashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8553, Japan (e-mail:;


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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
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