Psychological characteristics of children at two years after the great east Japan earthquake: Analyses of telephone consultation records

Reiko Sakama, Hirohide Yokokawa, Kazutoshi Fujibayashi, Toshio Naito, Yuki Sato, Chizuru Yamanaka, Masahiro Kikuya, Masako Miyashita, Shinichi Kuriyama

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake was the largest and most catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japanese history. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the burden and psychological characteristics of children at 2 years after this catastrophe to allow a better understanding of the situation and the provision of appropriate support. We investigated a cross-sectional study carried out in 2013 by sending a questionnaire to schools located in Miyagi Prefecture to be answered by parents or guardians. The questionnaire included the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to estimate the psychological adaptation of children. Telephone consultations were provided for children with SDQ scores > 16 whose parents or guardians had given consent. From the target population of 12,742, a total of 4,074 responses were received (response rate: 32%), among which, 720 had an SDQ score > 16 and received a telephone consultation. At the time of the telephone consultation, 301 (42%) of the 720 children and parents or guardians showed some type of psychological reaction and were thus classified as “Insufficient recovery”. Among these, 230 had not received social support at any point in time, suggesting the need for long-term psychological support. Those who resided in a coastal area tended to show a higher rate of psychological reactions than those in an inland area (27.1% vs. 12.9%, respectively). In conclusion, catastrophic disasters have a long-lasting psychological impact on children, and thus, long-term psychological support may be needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Children
  • Disaster
  • Psychological reaction
  • Region
  • Strengths and difficulties questionnaire score


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