The Miyake Island Volcano Disaster in Japan: Loss, Uncertainty, and Relocation as Predictors of PTSD and Depression

Authors

  • Toyomi Goto,

    1. Cleveland State University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 1Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Toyomi Goto, Hyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress, 1-3-2 Wkinohama Kaigan St. Chuo-ku Kobe, Hyogo, 651-0073, Japan. E-mail: goto@j-hits.org. Toyomi Goto earned her Masters degree in clinical/counseling psychology from Cleveland State University. Her current affiliation is the Hyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress in Kobe, (Japan).

    • 2We would like to thank participants of this study for sharing their experiences. We are also grateful to people in the local government of Miyake village for assisting this study. The authors would like to thank Dr. Kanemitsu and his students for their support. Special thanks to Mr. Holtz for proofreading and preparation of this article.

  • John P. Wilson,

    1. Cleveland State University
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Boaz Kahana,

    1. Cleveland State University
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Steve Slane

    1. Cleveland State University
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between psychological well-being and the impact of loss and psychological uncertainty after the 2000 Miyake Island volcanic eruption. 231 Japanese evacuees (ages 20-93, average 59.52 years old) responded to mailed questionnaires 10 months after the volcanic eruption in 2000. The questionnaire included the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) for posttraumatic stress disorder, an 11-item version of the Center for Epidemiological Study-Depression Scale (CES-D), assessment of disaster losses, demographics, and measure of relevant pre- and post-disaster activities (e.g., relocation, worry, doctor visits). Findings indicated that material loss and uncertainty of losses were significantly associated with higher rates of reported PTSD and depression symptoms. Those who relocated multiple times reported significantly higher rates of PTSD symptoms than those who relocated less frequently. Demographic characteristics such as being older, widowed, lower SES, less education, and longer length of residency on the island were also strongly associated with higher reported PTSD symptoms. Depression symptoms were strongly associated with being widowed, lower SES, longer length of residency on the island, and previous experiences of evacuations due to disasters.

Ancillary