The Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami hit a wide area of East Japan in 2011. We aimed to describe the living environment and health status of those living in temporary housing in Rikuzentakata, Iwate, as well as to identify the factors associated with perceived lack of social support. We therefore conducted a cross-sectional study using a self-administered, structured questionnaire distributed to all households living in temporary housing in Rikuzentakata in August 2013. More than one-third of the respondents said that their physical (34.2%) or mental (34.0%) health had deteriorated over the previous year. Younger people with more health complaints and living with more people had higher levels of distress. The major factors associated with a perceived lack of social support were having trouble with neighbours (AOR 3.68, p=0.002), difficulties providing care for a family member (AOR 3.28, p=0.036), higher levels of distress regarding living conditions (AOR 2.62, p<0.0001), being younger(AOR 2.32, p=0.003), and being male (AOR 1.77, p=0.019). These findings suggest that life in temporary housing is quite stressful and could lead to deterioration in physical and mental health. The total level of QOL, however, was only slightly lower than the standard average. Focusing on the most vulnerable people placed in temporary housing after a major disaster is particularly important.
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