40% of Battle of Okinawa survivors suffer from PTSD

40% of Battle of Okinawa survivors suffer from PTSD

Proportion of elderly Okinawa residents who are likely to have PTSD.

June 19, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

Psychiatrists and other specialists in Okinawa have looked into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) issues among Battle of Okinawa survivors. They have found that about 40 percent of elderly Okinawa residents who experienced the Battle of Okinawa are likely to have the disorder. Those involved in the study believe that the memories of the Battle of Okinawa, the continued presence of U.S. military bases in Okinawa after the war and crimes and incidents related to the bases, have contributed to their disorder.


This is the first time that the researchers have conducted a large-scale study on psychological damage from the Battle of Okinawa.

Between April 2012 and February 2013, psychiatrists and former health nurses randomly selected 401 Okinawans 75 years and older who used day service care in eight areas such as Itoman, Yomitan and Zamami. Those involved in the study interviewed the subjects. The researchers questioned them on 22 topics, using the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), a self-report measure that assesses subjective distress caused by traumatic events. The measure yields a total score ranging from 0 to 88. The IES-R scale defines those with scores of 25 points or higher as the PTSD high-risk group.

The average age of the subjects was 82.3 years. The researchers received valid responses from 359 individuals, for whom the average score was 22.4. The number of those with scores higher than 25 were 141, accounting for 39.3 percent of the total. A 77-year-old woman scored 78 points, which was the highest.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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