Stressors in Disaster Social Work after the Great East Japan Earthquake: An Exploratory Study
Dai Noguchi, Masato Miyoshi, Mizuho Watanabe, Takashi Fujioka

The effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which involved a nuclear disaster, on the mental health of the victims and the disaster workers are tremendous and will persist. Especially, the people who are engaged in social work in the affected areas will have to continue working. However, the stressors affecting these individuals have not been examined. The study intends to explore the stressors in long-term social work following the unprecedented and complex disaster. Three years since, semi-structured interviews with 12 participants who have engaged in social work in the affected areas were conducted and qualitative analysis was performed. As a result, five categories with 12 subcategories were extracted from the qualitative results: traumatic events, losses, work-related fatigue, helplessness, and anxiety. Work-related fatigue was mentioned by most participants (N=12) followed by helplessness (N=7) and anxiety (N=7). Previous studies primarily focused on fatigue and trauma of disaster social workers. This study suggested that the development of the following is especially necessary in the future: an assessment scale and interventions for helplessness and anxiety in long-term social work. Future studies with large samples are needed to validate and refine these results.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jssw.v5n2a5