©2012 Matsuoka et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Concern over radiation exposure and psychological distress among rescue workers following the Great East Japan Earthquake
1Department of Psychiatry, National Disaster Medical Center, 3256 Midoricho, Tachikawa, 190-0014, Japan
2Clinical Research Institute, National Disaster Medical Center, 3256 Midoricho, Tachikawa, 190-0014, Japan
3Translational Medical Center, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1 Ogawahigashi-cho, Kodaira, 187-8551, Japan
4National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1 Ogawahigashi-cho, Kodaira, 187-8553, Japan
5CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 3256 Midoricho, Tachikawa, 190-0014, Japan
6Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Family and Consumer Sciences, Kamakura Womens University, 6-1-3 Ofuna, Kamakura, 247-8512, Japan
7Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Science, Tohoku Fukushi University, 1-8-1 Kunimi, Sendai, 981-8522, Japan
8Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toyama, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama, 930-0194, Japan
9Department of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama, 930-0194, Japan
10Japan Disaster Medical Assistance Team, 3256 Midoricho, Tachikawa, 190-0014, Japan
Received November 11, 2011; Accepted March 28, 2012.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0
), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Of the 1,816 DMAT members deployed to the disaster area, 426 agreed to participate in the present study (24% response rate), of whom 424 (65.8% men, 34.2% women; mean age 38.2 (SD=7.5) years) completed a self-report questionnaire to assess psychological distress. Demographic characteristics are shown in Table . Physicians accounted for 24.1% of the sample, nurses 45.8%, and operational coordination staff 30.2%. Most of the women (89%) were nurses, while the occupational distribution was more dispersed for men; 33.7% were physicians, 23.3% were nurses, and 43.0% were operational coordination staff. Among all respondents, 9.2% were concerned over radiation exposure. The prevalence of probable psychological distress as determined by the K6 and CES-D was 4.0% and 21.4%, respectively. Both men and women with such concern showed significantly higher K6, CES-D, PDI, and IES-R scores than in those without concern (Table ). After controlling for age, occupation, disaster operation experience, duration of time spent watching earthquake news, and past history of psychiatric illness, these associations remained significant in men, but did not remain significant in women for the CES-D and PDI scores. In addition, after excluding those with past history of psychiatric illness, ANOVA results showed no apparent change in the association between concern over radiation and psychological distress in men. In women, however, the association remained significant for the K6 (p=.029) but not for the CES-D, PDI, or IES-R (p=.097, p=.064, p=.064). ANCOVA results for women did not change the association. Moreover, for the ANCOVA, the addition of the two covariates experience of saving a child during deployment and experience of contact with corpses to the primary analysis of covariance did not change the association in men or women (data not shown).
Demographic characteristics of participating DMAT members (n=424)
Association between concern over radiation exposure and psychological distress among participating DMAT members