Post-traumatic Stress and Growth Among Medical Student Volunteers After the March 2011 Disaster in Fukushima, Japan: Implications for Student Involvement with Future Disasters

Post-traumatic Stress and Growth Among Medical Student Volunteers After the March 2011 Disaster... The March 2011 “triple disaster” (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident) had a profound effect on northern Japan. Many medical students at Fukushima Medical University volunteered in the relief effort. We aimed to investigate the nature of students’ post-disaster involvement and examine the psychological impact of their experiences using a survey containing elements from the Davidson Trauma Scale and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory. We collected 494 surveys (70 % response rate), of which 132 students (26.7 %) had volunteered. Volunteers were more likely to be older, have witnessed the disaster in person, had their hometowns affected, and had a family member or close friend injured. In the month after 3/11, volunteers were more likely to want to help, feel capable of helping, and report an increased desire to become a physician. Both in the month after 3/11 and the most recent month before the survey, there were no significant differences in distressing symptoms, such as confusion, anger, or sadness, between volunteers and non-volunteers. Volunteers reported a significantly higher level of posttraumatic growth than non-volunteers. Participating in a greater variety of volunteer activities was associated with a higher level of posttraumatic growth, particularly in the Personal Strength domain. There may be self-selection in some criteria, since students who were likely to be resistant to confusion/anxiety/sadness may have felt more capable of helping and been predisposed to volunteer. However, participation in post-disaster relief efforts did not appear to have a harmful effect on medical students, an important consideration for mobilizing volunteers after future disasters. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychiatric Quarterly Springer Journals

Post-traumatic Stress and Growth Among Medical Student Volunteers After the March 2011 Disaster in Fukushima, Japan: Implications for Student Involvement with Future Disasters

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Medicine & Public Health; Psychiatry; Public Health; Sociology, general
ISSN
0033-2720
eISSN
1573-6709
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11126-015-9381-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The March 2011 “triple disaster” (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident) had a profound effect on northern Japan. Many medical students at Fukushima Medical University volunteered in the relief effort. We aimed to investigate the nature of students’ post-disaster involvement and examine the psychological impact of their experiences using a survey containing elements from the Davidson Trauma Scale and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory. We collected 494 surveys (70 % response rate), of which 132 students (26.7 %) had volunteered. Volunteers were more likely to be older, have witnessed the disaster in person, had their hometowns affected, and had a family member or close friend injured. In the month after 3/11, volunteers were more likely to want to help, feel capable of helping, and report an increased desire to become a physician. Both in the month after 3/11 and the most recent month before the survey, there were no significant differences in distressing symptoms, such as confusion, anger, or sadness, between volunteers and non-volunteers. Volunteers reported a significantly higher level of posttraumatic growth than non-volunteers. Participating in a greater variety of volunteer activities was associated with a higher level of posttraumatic growth, particularly in the Personal Strength domain. There may be self-selection in some criteria, since students who were likely to be resistant to confusion/anxiety/sadness may have felt more capable of helping and been predisposed to volunteer. However, participation in post-disaster relief efforts did not appear to have a harmful effect on medical students, an important consideration for mobilizing volunteers after future disasters.

Journal

Psychiatric QuarterlySpringer Journals

Published: Jul 14, 2015

References

  • Mental Health Consequences of Disasters
    Goldmann, E; Galea, S
  • Beyond prevalence to process: the role of self and identity in medical student well-being
    Mavor, KI; McNeill, KG; Anderson, K; Kerr, A; O’Reilly, E; Platow, MJ
  • The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory: measuring the positive legacy of trauma
    Tedeschi, RG; Calhoun, LG

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