Mount Ontake in Nagano Prefecture, Japan erupted on 27 September 2014. Many police officers were called in for duty as a disaster-support task force. We investigated the association between the peritraumatic situation and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in these police officers. In January 2015, a health survey (OHS) on disaster stress related to the Mt. Ontake eruption disaster support work was distributed to all of the police officers and staff involved in the disaster support. We analyzed the 213 participants who had PTSD symptoms following the eruption and no missing OHS data. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to clarify the relationship between the participants' symptom severity and their peritraumatic situation (i.e., stressors and daily support prior to the eruption, disaster-support work duties, and postdisaster stress relief). The symptom severity was associated with 'more than seven cumulative days at work' (odds ratio [OR] = 2.47, 1.21-5.06), 'selecting drinking and/or smoking as stress relief after disaster-support work' (OR = 2.35, 1.09-5.04), and 'female' (OR = 3.58, 1.19-10.77). As disaster-support work, 'supporting the victims' families' (OR = 1.99, 0.95-4.21) tended to be associated with symptom severity. The number of days of disaster-support work, stress-relief behavior, and gender were associated with the severity of PTSD symptoms.
Keywords: PTSD symptoms among police officers; peritraumatic situation; posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); volcanic disaster.