Maternal Anxiety 16 Months after the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster Area: First Report


The Great East Japan Earthquake, a magnitude 9.0 quake that occurred on March 11, 2011, left more than 20,000 killed or missing and resulted in more than 400,000 people being displaced. The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident released large amounts of radioactive material into the air. Among the victims of this combined disaster were many pregnant and parturient women, and this study aimed to determine post-disaster anxiety among this specific population and measures for the future. Participants were 259 women (mean age 33.02 ± 4.79 years) who gave birth around the time of the earthquake in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the disaster areas. Sixteen months after the earthquake, we administered survey questionnaires on anxiety. We transcribed questionnaire responses, coded raw data by context, and categorized these codes by commonality. After extracting subcategories of anxiety-related factors, we categorized them into more abstract concepts. Among the participants, 126 (48.6%) reported having no available professionals with whom they could consult about childrearing. Participants reported anxiety in the following 12 categories: “radiation,” “child’s physical and mental growth/development,” “recurrence of earthquake and tsunami,” “financial issues,” “childrearing environment,” “living environment,” “maternal employment,” “stigma,” “familial issues,” “maternal health,” “childrearing,” and “the future”. A beneficial way to reduce maternal anxiety in the 12 areas identified would be to develop support systems that provide continuous support for children’s mental health care needs, psychological guidance, community support for maternal empowerment, outreach for individual support, and professional consultation for mothers who have high anxiety about radioactivity.

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Yoshii, H. , Saito, H. , Kikuchi, S. , Ueno, T. and Sato, K. (2014) Maternal Anxiety 16 Months after the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster Area: First Report. Health, 6, 870-878. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.610110.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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