Reconstruction of Life and Mental Health in High School Students at Two Years after the 3.11 Disaster in Fukushima

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Takashi ASAKURA , Tokyo Gakugei University, Tokyo, Japan
Maho HARADA , Tokyo Gakugei University, Tokyo, Japan
Kazuko SASAHARA , Iwaki-Sakuragaoka High School, Fukushima, Japan
Although Act Concerning Support for Reconstructing Livelihood of Disaster Victims was enacted in 1995, life reconstruction of victims from the 3.11 disaster is progressing very slowly.

    Under the social condition high school students living in disaster stricken areas would have experienced changes in three domains of their life such as school life, family life, and community life. Impact of life changes related to the disaster may damage their mental and physical health. Differences in processing life reconstruction may influence their mental and physical health in different ways. We assume that students who are victims from nuclear meltdowns of three of six Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors are less likely to reconstruct their livelihoods, so that their mental health would be poor.

   We performed a questionnaire survey to examine associations between reconstruction of life and mental health in high school students after almost two years since the disaster. Five hundreds and eighty one out of 627 students in a high school responded. About half of the total was suffered from tsunami and earthquake: 11.7 % the total were victims from meltdowns and radiation with or without tsunami and earthquake: fortunately 34.3% reported that they have no damage from the disaster. Thirty two percent to 40% out of all students report they feel their livelihoods in school, family, or community are still influenced by the disaster. About 56% of the students are sensitive to a lesser tremor because they concern a big earthquake may occur. By our preliminary analyses, mental health assessed by the CES-D was related to unstable economic condition in a family, life changes in a family life, insufficient community resources, and changes in community life.

In our presentation, we will show how students experienced the reconstruction of life and how their experiences are related to their mental health.