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Social Factors Associated With Psychological Distress and Health Problems Among Elderly Members of a Disaster-Affected Population: Subgroup Analysis of a 1-Year Post-disaster Survey in Ishinomaki Area, Japan

  • Mariko Inoue (a1) and Kazue Yamaoka (a1)

Abstract

Objective

We aimed to investigate the influence of social factors, especially social support, on psychological distress and the prevalence of health problems (HPs) among victims living in their homes 14 to 21 months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Methods

A subgroup analysis was performed for elderly participants of a cross-sectional household survey in Ishinomaki area, Japan. The prevalence of psychological HPs was assessed by using a psychological distress questionnaire (K6) and by recording the number of subjective HPs. Perceived social support was assessed in 3 dimensions: informational, emotional, and instrumental support. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the association between social factors and psychological health.

Results

An elderly subgroup with 879 participants was used for analyses. Psychological distress (K6 score≥9) was observed in 6.8% of the participants aged 65 to 74 years and in 8.0% of those aged ≥75 years. Receiving a long-term care service was associated with having HPs, and discontinuation of attendance at a hospital as an outpatient was associated with psychological distress. Receiving emotional support was associated with lower psychological distress and not having HPs.

Conclusions

Emotional support was found to be an important factor for promoting health among elderly disaster victims. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:64–71)

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Mariko Inoue, PhD, Teikyo University Graduate School of Public Health, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi, Tokyo, 173-8605, Japan (e-mail: inoue-ph@med.teikyo-u.ac.jp).

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