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01.09.2009 | Regular Article | Ausgabe 5/2009

Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 5/2009

Relationship between the Noto-Peninsula earthquake and maternal postnatal depression and child-rearing

Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine > Ausgabe 5/2009
Yuri Hibino, Jiro Takaki, Yasuhiro Kambayashi, Yoshiaki Hitomi, Akemi Sakai, Naomi Sekizuka, Keiki Ogino, Hiroyuki Nakamura



The aim of our study was to explore the relationship between a medium-scale earthquake and maternal depression and child-rearing in a depopulated community in the Noto Peninsula of Japan.


Three months after a major earthquake, self-rating questionnaires were distributed to women who were pregnant at the time of the earthquake or who became pregnant immediately thereafter, and who were receiving care at any of four major hospitals in the most devastated area. A total of 155 women who had given birth returned the completed questionnaire for analysis. Maternal postnatal depression among the participants was assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).


The EPDS score was significantly associated with decreased “satisfaction with delivery” (β = −0.28, p = 0.01), increased artificial “lactation” (β = 0.31, p = 0.002), and increased “trouble with infant care” (β = 0.47, p < 0.001) in multivariate analysis. It was also significantly associated with increased “anxiety about earthquakes” (β = 0.30, p = 0.001), and “anxiety about earthquakes” was significantly associated with increased “fear of the earthquake” (β = 0.20, p = 0.04).


Earthquake-related factors such as “anxiety about earthquakes” and “fear of the earthquake” did not have a direct effect on child-rearing factors; however, they did have a significant relationship with increased EPDS. Based on these results, we conclude that screening strategies for maternal depression in peri- and postnatal women under emergency circumstances are necessary.

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