- Almost one-third of elderly survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan reported depression more than 3 years after the disaster.
- This depression was associated with an increased risk for all-cause mortality.
- One-quarter reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the same time, but PTSD was not associated with increased mortality risk.
Why this matters
- Long-term follow-up care after disasters, especially among older adults, should include evaluations for postdisaster depression.
- Prospective data on 2965 individuals (mean age, 73.4 years) from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study were identified.
- During a mean follow-up of 3.3 years, the association among depression, PTSD, and all-cause mortality was evaluated among the older survivors of the earthquake and tsunami.
- Funding: NIH; others.
- Mean follow-up since the 2013 survey was 3.3 years.
- 32.8% reported postdisaster depression, and 25.2% reported PTSD.
- Depression was significantly associated with an elevated risk for mortality: adjusted (a)HR, 2.29 (P<.001>
- However, the association between PTSD and mortality was not statistically significant: aHR, 1.10 (95% CI, 0.73-1.64).
- Vs individuals without depression/PTSD:
- Risk increased with depression only: HR, 2.24 (95% CI, 1.43-3.49).
- Risk increased nonsignificantly with comorbid depression and PTSD: HR, 2.54 (95% CI, 1.50-4.27).
- Possibility of selection bias.
Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm