Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

Risk of Social Isolation Among Great East Japan Earthquake Survivors Living in Tsunami-Affected Ishinomaki, Japan

  • Machiko Inoue (a1), Shoko Matsumoto (a2), Kazue Yamaoka (a2) and Shinsuke Muto (a3)
Abstract
Objective

The Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami affected approximately 53 000 people in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. Approximately 30 000 people were relocated to temporary/rental housing. The remainder re-inhabited tsunami-affected houses, and their conditions were not known. As social isolation could affect physical and psychological health, we investigated the risk of social isolation among the survivors who returned to their homes.

Methods

The surveyors went door-to-door to the tsunami-affected houses and interviewed each household between October 2011 and March 2012. The participants’ risk of social isolation was assessed using 3 factors: whether they have (1) friends to talk with about their problems, (2) close neighbors, and (3) social/family interactions. We analyzed the groups at risk of social isolation and identified the related factors.

Results

The elderly (older than age 65 years) were more likely to have close neighbors and social/family interactions, as compared with younger persons. Persons living alone were less likely to have social/family interactions. Non-elderly men who were living alone were the highest proportion of people without social/family interactions.

Conclusions

Our findings suggested that men, particularly those younger than age 65 years and living alone, were at high risk of social isolation and may need attention. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-8)

Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to Machiko Inoue, MD, MPH, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1, Handayama, Higashi-ku, Hamamatsu, 431-3192, Japan (e-mail: machiko-inoue@umin.ac.jp).
References
Hide All
1.Reconstruction Agency, Government of Japan. Number of disaster-related deaths after the Great East Japan Earthquake [in Japanese]. www.reconstruction.go.jp/topics/20121102_sinsaikanrensi.pdf. Accessed May 19, 2013.
2.National Police Agency, Government of Japan. Countermeasures for the Great East Japan Earthquake [in Japanese]. http://www.npa.go.jp/archive/keibi/biki/keisatsusoti/index.htm. Accessed May 19, 2013.
3.Miyagi Prefectural Government. The countermeasures taken by the Miyagi Prefectural Government during the six-month period after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami [in Japanese]. http://www.pref.miyagi.jp/site/ej-earthquake/kt-kensyou.html. Accessed February 2, 2014.
4.Map of Ishinomaki. maplandia.com website. http://www.maplandia.com/japan/tohoku/miyagi/ishinomaki/. Accessed May 19, 2013.
5.Miyagi Prefectural Government. Damages caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake [in Japanese]. http://www.pref.miyagi.jp/site/ej-earthquake/km-higaizyoukyou.html. Accessed May 19, 2013.
6.Informations on temporary housings. Ishinomaki City Office, 2012 [in Japanese]. http://www.city.ishinomaki.lg.jp/cont/10401200/7625/7625.html. Accessed May 19, 2013.
7.House, JS. Social isolation kills, but how and why? Psychosom Med. 2001;63(2):273-274.
8.Coyle, CE, Dugan, E. Social isolation, loneliness and health among older adults. J Aging Health. 2012;24(8):1346-1363.
9.National Police Agency, Government of Japan. The white paper on police 2012 [digest edition]. http://www.npa.go.jp/hakusyo/h24/english/Contents_WHITE_PAPER_on_POLICE2012.htm. Accessed May 19, 2013.
10.Bland, SH, O'Leary, ES, Farinaro, E, Jossa, F, Trevisan, M. Long-term psychological effects of natural disasters. Psychosom Med. 1996;58(1):18-24.
11.Phifer, JF, Norris, FH. Psychological symptoms in older adults following natural disaster: nature, timing, duration, and course. J Gerontol. 1989;44(6):S207-S217.
12.Norris, FH, Friedman, MJ, Watson, PJ, Byrne, CM, Diaz, E, Kaniasty, K. 60,000 disaster victims speak: part I. an empirical review of the empirical literature, 1981-2001. Psychiatry. 2002;65(3):207-239.
13.Banks, L. Caring for elderly adults during disasters: improving health outcomes and recovery. South Med J. 2013;106(1):94-98.
14.Eisenman, DP, Cordasco, KM, Asch, S, Golden, JF, Glik, D. Disaster planning and risk communication with vulnerable communities: lessons from Hurricane Katrina. Am J Public Health. 2007;97(suppl 1):S109-S115.
15.Phifer, JF, Kaniasty, KZ, Norris, FH. The impact of natural disaster on the health of older adults: a multiwave prospective study. J Health Soc Behav. 1988;29(1):65-78.
16.Sakauye, KM, Streim, JE, Kennedy, GJ, et al. AAGP position statement: disaster preparedness for older Americans: critical issues for the preservation of mental health. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009;17(11):916-924.
17.Betancourt, TS, Khan, KT. The mental health of children affected by armed conflict: protective processes and pathways to resilience. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2008;20(3):317-328.
18.Lowe, SR, Chan, CS, Rhodes, JE. Pre-hurricane perceived social support protects against psychological distress: a longitudinal analysis of low-income mothers. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2010;78(4):551-560.
19.Lee, B, Youm, Y. Social network effects on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in female North Korean immigrants. J Prevent Med Public Health. 2011;44(5):191-200.
20.Tang, CS. Positive and negative postdisaster psychological adjustment among adult survivors of the Southeast Asian earthquake-tsunami. J Psychosom Res. 2006;61(5):699-705.
21.Walsh, F. Traumatic loss and major disasters: strengthening family and community resilience. Fam Process. 2007;46(2):207-227.
22.Norris, FH. Disasters in urban context. J Urban Health. 2002;79(3):308-314.
23.Norris, FH, Kaniasty, K. Received and perceived social support in times of stress: a test of the social support deterioration deterrence model. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1996;71(3):498-511.
24.Seplaki, CL, Goldman, N, Weinstein, M, Lin, YH. Before and after the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake: traumatic events and depressive symptoms in an older population. Soc Sci Med. 2006;62(12):3121-3132.
25.Lin, MR, Huang, W, Huang, C, Hwang, HF, Tsai, LW, Chiu, YN. The impact of the Chi-Chi earthquake on quality of life among elderly survivors in Taiwan--a before and after study. Qual Life Res. 2002;11(4):379-388.
26.Osaki, Y, Minowa, M. Factors associated with earthquake deaths in the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, 1995. Am J Epidemiol. 2001;153(2):153-156.
27.Knight, BG, Gatz, M, Heller, K, Bengtson, VL. Age and emotional response to the Northridge earthquake: a longitudinal analysis. Psychol Aging. 2000;15(4):627-634.
28.Cherry, KE, Brown, JS, Marks, LD, et al. Longitudinal assessment of cognitive and psychosocial functioning after hurricanes Katrina and Rita: exploring disaster impact on middle-aged, older, and oldest-old adults. J Appl Biobehav Res. 2011;16(3-4):187-211.
29.Krug, EG, Kresnow, M, Peddicord, JP, et al. Suicide after natural disasters. N Engl J Med. 1998;338(6):373-378.
30.Yang, YK, Yeh, TL, Chen, CC, et al. Psychiatric morbidity and post-traumatic symptoms among survivors in the early stage following the 1999 earthquake in Taiwan. Psychiatr Res. 2001;105(1-2):13-22.
31.Suzuki, Y, Tsutsumi, A, Fukasawa, M, Honma, H, Someya, T, Kim, Y. Prevalence of mental disorders and suicidal thoughts among community-dwelling elderly adults 3 years after the Niigata-Chuetsu earthquake. J Epidemiol. 2011;21(2):144-150.
32.Nakagawa, Y, Shaw, R. Social capital: a missing link to disaster recovery. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters. 2004;22(1):5-34.
33.Wang, X, Gao, L, Zhang, H, Zhao, C, Shen, Y, Shinfuku, N. Post-earthquake quality of life and psychological well-being: longitudinal evaluation in a rural community sample in northern China. Psychiatr Clin Neurosci. 2000;54(4):427-433.
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? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

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