Long-term Life Recovery Processes Among Survivors of the 1995 Kobe Earthquake: 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005 Life Recovery Social Survey Results
Professor, Department of Sociology, Doshisha Universty, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8580, Japan
This paper summarizes findings from life recovery surveys conducted in 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005 among 1995 Kobe earthquake survivors. The 1999 survey (N=915) developed some of the key scales for the project, including life recovery, physical and psychological stress, family relations, and civic-mindedness. The 2001 study (N=1203) integrated 1999 study findings and those from 1999 grassroots assessment of life recovery, from which a seven critical element model of life recovery was constructed. The effects of these seven critical elements on life recovery were empirically tested and validated by general linear model (GLM) analysis. The 2003 (N=1203) and 2005 (N=1028) studies focused both on life recovery outcomes and on intervening life recovery processes. Structural equation modeling (SEM) identified causal links among recovery-promotion factors, recovery processes such as event impact stabilization, and event evaluation through community empowerment, and recovery outcomes. Event impact was a process through which impact caused by earthquake damage, loss, and/or stress was alleviated by housing, household finances, and stress management. Through event evaluation, social ties and community rebuilding efforts directly or indirectly facilitated the reframing of earthquake experiences into positive narratives. Research and policy implications of these findings are discussed in the end.