Identification of Persons at Risk: Responses after Boston Marathon Bombing among the Japanese Individuals in the Greater Boston area

【Purpose】
Previous research has found that ethnic minorities, females, unmarried people, children, and older adults are particularly vulnerable to traumatic events and exhibit higher levels of emotional disturbance. In addition, initial responses to the event and anxiety levels are significantly correlated to later PTSD symptoms. However, few studies have focused on the Asian population. This study conducted a survey of Japanese people in the Greater Boston area to identify risk factors that are associated with higher anxiety levels in response to a series of Boston Marathon Bombing incidents.  

【Methods】
Data are from paper and online surveys collected from 313 Japanese people living in the Greater Boston area. Surveys were conducted two months after the bombing incident. Logistic regression analysis was executed to identify factors associated with anxiety.

【Results】
During the incident, 74% of the participants answered that they had anxiety. After two months, 19% of the participants still exhibited some anxiety. During the incident, the odds of having higher level of anxiety were 2.2 times greater for females than males (p<0.05) and 92% lower for older people than younger counterpart (p<0.001). Analysis also revealed that a prolonged high anxiety level was associated with one’s location to be exposed; closer to the scene, more anxiety (OR=2.35, p<0.05).

【Discussion/Implications】
This study illustrated the importance of psychosocial support for women, regardless of their family structure. Moreover, the older population is less likely to perceive anxiety, which might cause less preparation for an emergency situation. The ways of alarm for older generation need to be considered. The findings from this study encourage professionals in the community agencies to set an agenda to provide effective service for both prevention and intervention. This study has implications for practice, including the promotion of emotional and behavioral health for vulnerable populations in the community. 




Issues in Access to Information in an Emergency Situation: Needs Among Japanese Individuals in the Greater Boston area after Boston Marathon Bombing


【Purpose】
Being able to access precise and reliable information is essential in emergency situations, such as pandemic, terrorism and natural disasters. Ethnic minority groups and limited English proficiency populations have been reported as particularly vulnerable in emergency situations because of the cultural and linguistic barriers to communication. We conducted a survey of Japanese people in the Greater Boston area to investigate which information sources they utilized during the Boston Marathon bombing events. We also tried to understand how useful such information sources were and what types of support Japanese people think necessary in future emergency situations.

【Methods】
The sample consisted of 313 Japanese people. We collected data using paper and online based surveys two months after the bombing incident. The survey included 27 questions asking about utilized information sources, perceived trouble and anxiety, and unmet needs. Content analysis was executed to identify utilized information sources as well as types of desired supports in the future.

【Results】
The most utilized information came from television reports and online sources provided by the local mass media. However, some people found such information sources confusing. Instead, participants perceived the following types of information as useful: immediate information, outline of the incident and present situation, dangerous areas, restrictions. Forty-two percent of participants had trouble with “speculated information”. Sixty-four percent of participants were worried about “getting hurt by another terrorist attack”. Valuable types of support needed in the future include “Japanese community network developed around the Japanese Consulate General”, “timely information in Japanese” and “information provided by social media”. Anxiety and how long participants had been in the U.S. were not correlated.

【Discussion/Implications】
The findings indicate that building an information infrastructure through which Japanese people can share critical information in their own language in emergency situations is needed. In addition, Japanese people perceive it as ideal if such infrastructure is developed around the Japanese Consulate General.