Skip to main content Accessibility help

Psychological Distress and the Risk of Withdrawing From Hypertension Treatment After an Earthquake Disaster

  • Naoki Nakaya (a1), Tomohiro Nakamura (a1), Naho Tsuchiya (a1), Akira Narita (a1), Ichiro Tsuji (a1) (a2), Atsushi Hozawa (a1) and Hiroaki Tomita (a1) (a3)...

This study examined the association between psychological distress and the risk of withdrawing from hypertension treatment (HTTx) 1 year after the earthquake disaster in the coastal area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE).


Using cross-sectional data from 2012, we studied people over 20 years of age living in Shichigahama Town, Miyagi, on the northeastern coast of Japan, which had been severely inundated by the tsunami that followed the GEJE in 2011. A total of 1014 subjects were categorized as in need of HTTx. Withdrawing from HTTx was assessed by using a self-reported questionnaire.


Subjects with a higher degree of psychological distress (Kessler-6 [K6] score ≥ 13) exhibited a significantly higher risk of withdrawing from HTTx, compared with subjects with a lower degree of psychological distress (K6 score ≤ 12; odds ratio=4.0; 95% confidence interval: 1.3-10.6, P<0.01).


This study indicated that psychological distress is a risk factor for withdrawing from HTTx in post-disaster settings. Our data suggested that the increased risk of withdrawing from HTTx associated with post-disaster psychological distress may underlie the increased prevalence of vascular diseases after the earthquake disaster in coastal areas affected by the tsunami. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:179–182)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Naoki Nakaya, Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization, Tohoku University, 2-1 Seiryo, Sendai 980-8573, Japan (e-mail:
Hide All
1. Police measures and damage situation of the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean earthquake, 2011 [in Japanese]. The National Police Agency website. Accessed January 5, 2016.
2. Harada, N, Shigemura, J, Taniuchi, M, et al. Mental health and psychological impacts from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster: a systematic literature review. Disaster Mil Med. 2015;1:17.
3. Nakaya, N, Nakamura, T, Tsuchiya, N, et al. The association between medical treatment of physical diseases and psychological distress after the Great East Japan Earthquake: The Shichigahama Health Promotion Project. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2015;9(4):374-381.
4. Nozaki, E, Nakamura, A, Abe, A, et al. Occurrence of cardiovascular events after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster. Int Heart J. 2013;54(5):247-253.
5. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (2011). Conference on promotion of employment support and job creation for the disaster victims [in Japanese]. Published March 28, 2011. Accessed January 5, 2016.
6. Colleoni, M, Mandala, M, Peruzzotti, G, et al. Depression and degree of acceptance of adjuvant cytotoxic drugs. Lancet. 2000;356(9238):1326-1327.
7. Kessler, RC, Barker, PR, Colpe, LJ, et al. Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003;60(2):184-189.
8. Furukawa, TA, Kessler, RC, Slade, T, et al. The performance of the K6 and K10 screening scales for psychological distress in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. Psychol Med. 2003;33(2):357-362.
9. Kuriyama, S, Nakaya, N, Ohmori-Matsuda, K, et al. Factors associated with psychological distress in a community-dwelling Japanese population: the Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study. J Epidemiol. 2009;19(6):294-302.
10. Aoki, T, Takahashi, J, Fukumoto, Y, et al. Effect of the Great East Japan Earthquake on cardiovascular diseases—report from the 10 hospitals in the disaster area. Circ J. 2013;77(2):490-493.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
  • URL: /core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed