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Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms and Burnout Among Medical Rescue Workers 4 Years After the Great East Japan Earthquake: A Longitudinal Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2016

Yuzuru Kawashima
Department of Psychiatry, National Disaster Medical Center, Tachikawa, Japan Department of Neuropsychiatry, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan
Daisuke Nishi
Department of Psychiatry, National Disaster Medical Center, Tachikawa, Japan
Hiroko Noguchi
School of Distance Learning, Musashino University, Mitaka, Japan
Masato Usuki
Department of Psychiatry, National Disaster Medical Center, Tachikawa, Japan
Akihiro Yamashita
Department of Psychiatry, National Disaster Medical Center, Tachikawa, Japan
Yuichi Koido
Clinical Research Institute, National Disaster Medical Center, Tachikawa, Japan
Yoshiro Okubo
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan
Yutaka J. Matsuoka*
Department of Psychiatry, National Disaster Medical Center, Tachikawa, Japan Clinical Research Institute, National Disaster Medical Center, Tachikawa, Japan Division of Health Care Research, Center for Public Health Sciences, National Cancer Center, Chuo-ku, TokyoJapan.
Correspondence and reprint requests to Yutaka Matsuoka, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, National Disaster Medical Center, 3256 Midoricho, Tachikawa 190-0014, Japan (e-mail:



This study aimed to evaluate factors associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and burnout 4 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake among medical rescue workers in Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs).


We examined participants’ background characteristics, prior health condition, rescue work experiences, and the Peritraumatic Distress Inventory (PDI) score at 1 month after the earthquake. Current psychological condition was assessed by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised and Maslach Burnout Inventory administered 4 years after the earthquake. By applying univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses, we assessed the relative value of the PDI and other baseline variables for PTSD symptoms and burnout at 4 years after the earthquake.


We obtained baseline data from 254 participants during April 2 to 22, 2011. Of the 254 participants, 188 (74.0%) completed the follow-up assessment. PDI score 1 month after the earthquake was associated with symptoms of PTSD (β=0.35, P<.01) and burnout (β=0.21, P<.01). Stress before deployment was a related factor for burnout 4 years after the earthquake in these medical rescue workers (β=2.61, P<.04).


It seems important for DMAT headquarters to establish a routine system for assessing the PDI of medical rescue workers after deployment and screen those workers who have high stress prior to deployment (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:848–853)

Original Research
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2016 

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