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Stress induced by disaster is experienced to varying degrees by all respondents, and is known to evoke psychophysiological reactions. In this study, we investigated the relationships between earthquake-related life events and posttraumatic stress symptoms. A total of 380 adults were surveyed one year after the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji earthquake in Japan. The questionnaire included items concerning earthquake-related life events, emotional support and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
As a result, after controlling for demographic variables, earthquake-related life events were significantly related to the grade of posttraumatic stress and its three components: re-experience, avoidance and arousal, in both male and female subjects. Male subjects who currently had lower emotional support showed higher scores of posttraumatic stress and arousal. In conclusion, a higher experience of earthquake-related life events appears to be an important risk factor for development of poor mental health status following an earthquake disaster.