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Environ Health Prev Med. Jul 2001; 6(2): 97–103.
PMCID: PMC2723243
Life events and posttraumatic stress in Hanshin-Awaji earthquake victims
Young-Sook Kwon,1 Soichiro Maruyama,1,2 and Kanehisa Morimotocorresponding author1
2Department of Human Sciences, Faculty of Literature, Kobe Shinwa Women's University, Kobe,
1Department of Social and Environmental Medicine F1, Course of Social Medicine, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-2 Yamadaoka, 565-0871 Suita, Osaka, Japan
Kanehisa Morimoto, Phone: +81(6)6879-3920, Fax: +81(6)6879-3929, morimoto/at/envi.med.osaka-u.ac.jp.
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Received November 2, 2000; Accepted February 8, 2001.
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.
Key words: posttraumatic stress disorder, stress, life events, emotional support, mental health
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