Fukushima Triple Disaster and the Road to Recovery: a Qualitative Exploration of Resilience in Internally Displaced Residents

Claire L. Mann, Christina N. Gillezeau, Alessandro Massazza, Daniel J. Lyons, Kanata Tanaka, Kazuma Yonekura, Hideharu Sekine, Robert Yanagisawa, Craig L. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Six years after the March 2011 Triple Disaster, over 35,000 Japanese individuals remain in temporary housing. Evacuated residents, many of who are elderly, face mental health challenges. This study evaluates the well being of individuals living in temporary housing within Fukushima. Reactions to relocation were explored using Photovoice, a community-based participatory research method, in which a set of research questions are examined qualitatively through photographs and interviews. Seven participants (average age = 69.7) were provided cameras to answer a set of self-generated questions, a process that was repeated three times. An initial analysis found resilience among participants, which was explored using a theoretical framework of resiliency. Residents discussed how relocation has disrupted their lives and coping strategies they employ to ameliorate stressors. They were often optimistic and future-oriented, stating that they wanted to “live strong” after the disaster. These resilient mindsets were personified in action: all engaged in hobbies, critical for their emotional well being. Participants also emphasized the importance of community and familial support. The evidence of resilience in participants is encouraging, suggesting that these vulnerable elderly internally displaced residents are recovering from the disruption of relocation. These themes should be explored in larger temporary housing communities. Considering the number of relocated individuals today, understanding how to foster resilience could be used to inform the development of future temporary housing shelters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-397
Number of pages15
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • 3/11
  • Fukushima
  • Internally displaced residents
  • Kasetsu
  • Photovoice
  • Resilience


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