Objective To examine psychological distress among pregnant women in Miyagi prefecture which was directly affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami and compare other areas of Japan that were less damaged. Methods This study was conducted in conjunction with the Japan Environment and Children's Study (JECS). We examined 10,129 Japanese women using the primary fixed data of the JECS. The Kessler 6-item psychological distress scale (K6) was administered to 7473 eligible women including 998 in Miyagi unit center ('Miyagi UC') and 6475 in the other unit centers ('13UCs'). We compared the prevalence and the risk of distress (K6 ≥13) during pregnancy in 'Miyagi UC' and '13UCs'. Results More women in 'Miyagi UC' (4.9%) suffered psychological distress, compared with '13UCs' (3.1%) (p<0.001). A significantly higher prevalence of women in 'Miyagi UC' (55.5%) had experienced negative life events, whereas '13UCs' showed 42.7% (p<0.0001). In multivariable logistic analyses adjusted for baseline characteristics, there was a significant regional difference of psychological distress (adjusted odds ratio; aOR in Miyagi UC=1.488; 95%CI, 1.059-2.090). After further adjusting for negative life events, the association was diminished (aOR=1.338; 95%CI, 0.949-1.884). Limitations The JECS had no data before the earthquake and the extent of damage was not investigated. Possible regional representativeness is also a limitation. Conclusion After the Great East Japan Earthquake, the prevalence of pregnant women with psychological distress (K6≥13) were high in Miyagi prefecture. Especially in the coastal area directly affected by tsunami, it is high with or without negative life events experienced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas