2022 Volume 68 Issue 1 Pages 25-35
Aiming to improve post-disaster care of medical staff, we conducted an early and ongoing assessment of post-disaster psychologic distress and quality of life (QOL) in one center of a disaster-response hospital. Twelve days after the Great East Japan Earthquake, as the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant crisis was unfolding, we began a survey to examine the physical and mental state of medical staff to assess their motivation toward work. Surveys were administered in March 2011 (Survey 1), March 2012 (Survey 2), March 2013 (Survey 3), March 2014 (Survey 4), and March 2015 (Survey 5). Participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), EuroQol (EQ-5D), and MOS Short-Form 36-item Health Survey (SF-36). Although BDI scores significantly improved over time following Survey 1, participants in their 30s had significantly higher Survey 2 scores than those in their 40s/50s, and significantly higher Survey 3 scores than those in their 20s. STAI scores significantly improved over time following Survey 1. However, participants in their 30s had significantly higher Survey 3 scores than those in their 20s. EQ-5D scores did not significantly vary among survey time points or age groups. SF-36 physical functioning, role physical, social functioning, role emotional, and mental health subscale scores significantly improved over time. In conclusion, post-disaster longitudinal changes, including recovery period, differed among age groups. Thus, age should be taken into account in longitudinal evaluations of psychologic distress and QOL in medical staff after a disaster and, as more recent events suggest, during a pandemic.