Life and mental health of medical students after the great East Japan earthquake

Yutaro Arata, Akira Horii, Hidemitsu Saito, Manabu Miyamoto, Hiroo Matsuoka, Hiroshi Kanatsuka

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Students of the Tohoku University School of Medicine experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. We conducted a series of surveys to examine the relationships among their experiences and activities on the day of the earthquake, their physical, mental, and economic problems following the disaster, and how their problems changed over time. The initial survey was performed in April 2011, with three follow-up surveys in July 2011, February 2012, and April 2013. The initial survey focused on students’ experiences and living conditions during the disaster, which contained questions on their locations and circumstances, family circumstances, lives after the earthquake, voluntary works, physical or mental health problems, and desire for counseling. The follow-up surveys included new items regarding their circumstances, changes in their health problems, and their desire for economic assistance. Students who answered the frst survey to the 4th one, with response rates in the following bracket, were as follows: 472 (28.0%), 640 (29.9%), 681 (36.0%), and 678 (39.0%), respectively. Six months after the earthquake, about 20% having experienced physical and/or mental problems. Although there was a trend toward a reduction in suffering and health problems over time, some students’ conditions remained unchanged or worsened. It is notable that students who had participated in voluntary activities, despite their own suffering of harm and distress, were identifed as the group that required the closest attention. Our present results can be applied to appropriate supports for students in future large-scale disasters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 8


  • Data mining
  • Disaster
  • Education
  • Tsunami
  • Volunteers


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