Six-year follow-up study of residential displacement and health outcomes following the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Hiroyuki Hikichi, Jun Aida, Katsunori Kondo, Ichiro Kawachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Studies examining the long-term health consequences of residential displacement following large-scale disasters remain sparse. Following the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, victims who lost their homes were resettled by two primary means: 1) group relocation to public housing or 2) individual relocation, in which victims moved into public housing by lottery or arranged for their own accommodation. Little is known about how the specific method of residential relocation affects survivors' health. We examined the association between residential relocation and long-term changes in mental and physical well-being. Our baseline assessment predated the disaster by 7 mo. Two follow-up surveys were conducted ∼2.5 y and 5.5 y after the disaster to ascertain the long-term association between housing arrangement and health status. Group relocation was associated with increased body mass index and depressive symptoms at 2.5-y follow-up but was no longer significantly associated with these outcomes at 5.5-y follow-up. Individual relocation at each follow-up survey was associated with lower instrumental activities of daily living as well as higher risk of cognitive impairment. Our findings underscore the potential complexity of long-term outcomes associated with residential displacement, indicating both positive and negative impacts on mental versus physical dimensions of health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2014226118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume118
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 12

Keywords

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Functional limitation
  • Natural disaster
  • Residential displacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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