Objective: Psychological distress is a common symptom after natural disasters. Although musculoskeletal pain also increases after natural disasters, its relation to psychological distress is not known. This study aimed to examine the association of musculoskeletal pain with new-onset psychological distress among survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Methods: A panel study was conducted with survivors at 2 and 3 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake. New-onset psychological distress was defined as psychological distress absent at 2 years and present at 3 years after the disaster. The number of musculoskeletal pain sites at 2 years after the disaster was divided into 3 categories (0, 1, and ≥2). Multivariate logistic regression models were used to calculate the odds ratio and 95% confidence interval for new-onset psychological distress according to the number of musculoskeletal pain sites. Results: The rate of new-onset psychological distress was 6.7%. Musculoskeletal pain was associated with new-onset psychological distress. Using 0 as a reference, the adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.65 (0.92-2.95) in 1 and 2.12 (1.24-3.64) in ≥2 (P for trend=.02). Conclusions: Musculoskeletal pain is associated with new-onset psychological distress among survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
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