Objective: Previous studies have reported that elderly victims of natural disasters might be prone to a subsequent decline in motor function. Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) relocated to a wide range of different types of housing. As the evacuee lifestyle varies according to the type of housing available to them, their degree of motor function loss might also vary accordingly. However, the association between postdisaster housing type and loss of motor function has never been investigated. The present study was conducted to investigate the association between housing type after the GEJE and loss of motor function in elderly victims. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study of 478 Japanese individuals aged ≥65 years living in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the areas most significantly affected by the GEJE. Information on housing type after the GEJE, motor function as assessed by the Kihon checklist and other lifestyle factors was collected by interview and questionnaire in 2012. Information on motor function was then collected 1 year later. The multiple logistic regression model was used to estimate the multivariate adjusted ORs of motor function loss. Results: We classified 53 (11.1%) of the respondents as having loss of motor function. The multivariate adjusted OR (with 95% CI) for loss of motor function among participants who were living in privately rented temporary housing/rental housing was 2.62 (1.10 to 6.24) compared to those who had remained in the same housing as that before the GEJE, and this increase was statistically significant. Conclusions: The proportion of individuals with loss of motor function was higher among persons who had relocated to privately rented temporary housing/rental housing after the GEJE. This result may reflect the influence of a move to a living environment where few acquaintances are located (lack of social capital).
ASJC Scopus subject areas