Two Major Elements of Life Recovery After a Disaster: Their Impacts Dependent on Housing Damage and the Contributions of Psycho-Behavioral Factors
Shosuke Sato*, Ryo Ishibashi**, and Motoaki Sugiura*,**,
*International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University
468-1 Aza-Aoba, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8572, Japan
**Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer (IDAC), Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
Clarification of the individual factors determining the speed and quality of life recovery after massive disasters is crucial in assessing the vulnerability and resilience of individuals and communities. The research, however, remains in its infancy in that the index of life recovery per se is yet to be established; researchers have utilized different sets of variables, and their importance seems to vary across recovery phases potentially reflecting the change in housing situation. In addition, previous research on promoting factors of life recovery has primarily focused on demographic factors and inadequately addressed the psychological and behavioral factors, which has large educational and cultural implications. In this study, to address these two issues, we analyzed the survey data of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster. First, from the multiple questionnaire items relevant to the situations of life recovery, we extracted the major elements by factor analysis and investigated their relationship to subjective sense of life recovery. At this time, we compared the relationships obtained between victims who lost their housing and those who did not. Then, we examined the psycho-behavioral as well as demographic factors promoting these life-recovery elements. The factor analysis provides two recovery elements: Well-being (health and social connections) and Housing Recovery (integrity of residential environment). The main determinant of subjective sense of life recovery was the housing recovery element for victims who had lost their houses, while it was the well-being element for those who did not experience housing loss. Among the demographic factors, a robust effect of income on the housing recovery element was identified in both victim groups while the effect of age and household structures on the two elements varied between groups. We clarified that different psycho-behavioral factors promoted two life-recovery elements. Across groups, contribution of leadership to the housing recovery element and that of neuroticism (negative), emotional regulation, and active well-being to the well-being element were identified. The former finding is consistent with the importance of consensus building in housing reconstruction, and the latter may reflect the role of common psycho-behavioral capacity oriented to individuals’ well-being including social aspects. The two life-recovery elements and their promoting factors thus identified may provide a parsimonious macroscopic framework for the evaluation and promotion of life recovery from disasters, and have practical utility for an educational approach to strengthening community resilience.
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