Background: People living in temporary housing for long periods after a disaster are at risk of poor mental health. This study investigated the post-disaster incidence and remission of common mental disorders among adults living in temporary housing for the 3 years following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Methods: Three years after the disaster, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 1089 adult residents living in temporary housing in the disaster area, i.e., the shelter group, and a random sample of 852 community residents from non-disaster areas of East Japan. The World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to diagnose DSM-IV mood, anxiety, and alcohol use disorders. Information on demographic variables and disaster experiences was also collected. Results: Response rates were 49 and 46% for the shelter group and the community residents, respectively. The incidence of mood/anxiety disorder in the shelter group was elevated only in the first year post-disaster compared to that of the general population. The rate of remission for mood and anxiety disorders was significantly lower in the shelter group than in the community residents. The proportion seeking medical treatment was higher in the shelter group. Conclusions: The onset of common mental disorders increased in the first year, but then levelled off in the following years among residents in temporary housing after the disaster. Remission from incident post-disaster mental disorders was slower in the shelter group than in the general population. Post-disaster mental health service could consider the greater incidence in the first year and prolonged remission of mental disorders among survivors with a long-term stay in temporary housing after a disaster.
- Fukushima nuclear accident
- Help-seeking behavior
- Natural disasters
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health