Background: Social isolation and mental health issues have become a severe problem in disaster areas in the Great East Japan Earthquake. This study examined whether the combination of the house damage and social isolation or the combination of the death of family members and social isolation is associated with depressive symptoms among survivors using the baseline study data of the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Community-Based Cohort Study (TMM CommCohort Study). Methods: We used cross-sectional data from a baseline survey of 48,958 participants (18,423 males, 30,535 females; aged 60.1 ± 11.2 years) to examine the association between social isolation measured by the Lubben social network scale 6 (LSNS-6) and depressive symptoms measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depressive Scale (CES-D). The presence of social isolation and depressive symptoms was defined by an LSNS-6 score of < 12 and a CES-D score of ≥16, respectively. We performed a logistic regression analysis to determine the multivariable-adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) [AOR (95% CI)] for depressive symptoms according to sex in the social isolation in comparison to without social isolation, and the associations of the combination of the house damage or the death of family members and social isolation and depressive symptoms. Results: Social isolation was significantly associated with depressive symptoms (males: OR = 1.87; 95% CI = 1.72–2.04, females: OR = 2.13; 95% CI = 2.00–2.26). Both males and females respondents with severe house damage and social isolation had a greater risk of depressive symptoms in comparison to those with an undamaged house and without social isolation (males: OR = 3.40; 95% CI = 2.73–4.24, females: OR = 2.92; 95% CI = 2.46–3.46). The risk of depressive symptoms was also higher in both males and females respondents with the death of family members and social isolation in comparison to those without the death of family members and without social isolation (males: OR = 2.18; 95% CI = 1.90–2.50, females: OR = 2.60; 95% CI = 2.35–2.88). Conclusion: The findings suggested that a combination of social isolation and severe house damage and the death of family members caused by a large-scale natural disaster was associated with a higher risk of depressive symptoms although the interaction was not statistically significant.
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