Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 923–939 | Cite as

Correlating Post-disaster Support Network Density with Reciprocal Support Relation Satisfaction: An Elderly Cohort Within One Year of the 2011 Japan Disasters

  • Adam Jon LebowitzEmail author
  • Shinji Sato
  • Miyuki Aiba
Original Research


While there has been much empirical investigation into how social support networks improve mental health in post-disaster communities, network density—the extent members within a network are acquainted—remains under-researched. This study examines correlations between support network density and support reciprocity satisfaction in an elderly sample (N = 221), and the influence on post-disaster depression and trauma symptomology in a fishing community south of the Fukushima nuclear plant within 1 year of the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake. The Brief Inventory of Social Support Exchange Network (BISSEN) taps support network density, support source by relational category, tangible and emotional type, and providing or receiving direction of social support. Density measurement convergent validity was established from questionnaire responses. After confirming network density construct and criteria validity, and extracting components reciprocal support relationship satisfaction, correlation between these two variables was moderate at r = 0.34. However, reciprocity satisfaction moderately explained mental health variance, but results were not significant for density nor interaction between predictors. These results question the assumption that support network density and support reciprocity can be validly incorporated into a construct of “social capital” necessarily promoting mental health.


Disaster Social support Reciprocity Network density Morbidity 



This work was supported by the Government of Japan Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (Grant No. 201105016A).


Funding sources had no role in study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


  1. Abramson, D. M., Grattan, L. M., Mayer, B., Colten, C. E., Arosemena, F. A., Bedimo-Rung, A., et al. (2015). The resilience activation framework: A conceptual model of how access to social resources promotes adaptation and rapid recovery in post-disaster settings. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(1), 42–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adeola, F. O. (2009). Mental health and psychosocial distress sequelae of Katrina: An empirical study of survivors. Human Ecology Review, 16, 195–210.Google Scholar
  3. Aiba, M., Tachikawa, H., Fukuoka, Y., Endo, G., Shiratori, Y., Matsui, Y., et al. (2013). Development of the brief inventory of social support exchange network (in Japanese). Seishin Igaku, 55(9), 863–873.Google Scholar
  4. Aiba, M., Tachikawa, H., Fukuoka, Y., Lebowitz, A., Shiratori, Y., Doi, N., et al. (2017). Standardization of Brief Inventory of Social Support Exchange Network (BISSEN) in Japan. Psychiatry Research, 253, 364–372. Scholar
  5. Aida, J., Kondo, K., Hirai, H., Subramanian, S. V., Murata, C., Kondo, N., et al. (2011). Assessing the association between all-cause mortality and multiple aspects of individual social capital among the older Japanese. BMC Public Health, 11, 499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arata, C. M., Picou, J. S., Johnson, G. D., & McNally, T. S. (2000). Coping with technological disaster: An application of the conservation of resources model to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 13(1), 23–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Asukai, N., Kato, H., Kawamura, N., Kim, Y., Yamamoto, K., Kishimoto, J., et al. (2002). Reliability and validity of the Japanese-language version of the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-RJ): Four studies of different traumatic events. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 190(3), 175–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barnes, J. A. (1969). Networks and political process. In J. C. Mitchell (Ed.), Social networks in urban situations: Analyses of personal relationships in Central African towns (Vol. 3, pp. 51–74). Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill.Google Scholar
  9. Batson, C. D., & Powell, A. A. (2003). Altruism and prosocial behavior. In T. Millon & M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Personality and social psychology (Vol. 5, pp. 463–479). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  10. Bender, A. M., Kawachi, I., Jørgensen, T., & Pisinger, C. (2015). Neighborhood social capital is associated with participation in health checks of a general population: A multilevel analysis of a population-based lifestyle intervention—the Inter99 study. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Berkman, L. F., Glass, T., Brissette, I., & Seeman, T. E. (2000). From social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium. Social Science and Medicine, 51, 843–857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bishara, A. J., & Hittner, J. B. (2015). Reducing bias and error in the correlation coefficient due to nonnormality. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 75(5), 785–804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Boissevain, J. (1979). Network analysis: A reappraisal. Current Anthropology, 20(2), 392–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brown, S., Nesse, R., Vinokur, A., & Smith, D. (2003). Providing social support may be more beneficial than receiving it: Results from a prospective study of mortality. Psychological Science, 14(4), 320–327. Scholar
  15. Burt, R. S. (1980). Models of network structure. Annual Review of Sociology, 6(1980), 79–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Buunk, B. P., & Schaufeli, W. B. (1999). Reciprocity in interpersonal relationships: An evolutionary perspective on its importance for health and well-being. European Review of Social Psychology, 10(1), 259–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diedenhofen, B., & Musch, J. (2015). cocor: A comprehensive solution for the statistical comparison of correlations. PLoS ONE, 10(4), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Doi, Y., & Minowa, M. (2003). Factor structure of the 12-item General Health Questionnaire in the Japanese general adult population. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 57(4), 379–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Galea, S., Tracy, M., Norris, F., & Coffey, S. (2008). Financial and social circumstances and the incidence and course of PTSD in Mississippi during the first two years after Hurricane Katrina. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 21(4), 357–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gill, D. A., & Picou, J. S. (1997). The Day The Water Died: Cultural impacts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. In J. Picou, D. Gill, & M. Cohen (Eds.), The Exxon Valdez Disaster: Readings on a Modern Social Problem (pp. 167–187). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.Google Scholar
  21. Goto, T., Wilson, J., Kahana, B., & Slane, S. (2006). The Miyake Island volcano disaster in Japan: Loss, uncertainty, and relocation as predictors of PTSD and depression. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(8), 2001–2026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Granovetter, M. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 1360–1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Granovetter, M. (1976). Network sampling: Some first steps. American Journal of Sociology, 81(6), 1287–1303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Haines, V. A., Beggs, J. J., & Hurlbert, J. S. (2008). Contextualizing health outcomes: Do effects of network structure differ for women and men? Sex Roles, 59(3–4), 164–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hanibuchi, T., Kondo, K., Murata, Y., & Hirai, H. (2010). Local conditions for “A healthy neighborhood”: An analysis of health behaviors and social capital focusing on a specific place (in Japanese). Behaviormetrics, 37(1), 53–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harpham, T., Grant, E., & Thomas, E. (2002). Measuring social capital within health surveys: Key issues. Health Policy and Planning, 17(1), 106–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hikichi, H., Aida, J., Kondo, K., Tsuboya, T., Matsuyama, Y., Subramanian, S. V., et al. (2016a). Increased risk of dementia in the aftermath of a disaster: A natural experiment from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(45), E6911–E6918.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hikichi, H., Aida, J., Tsuboya, T., Kondo, K., & Kawachi, I. (2016b). Can community social cohesion prevent posttraumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of a disaster? A natural experiment from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. American Journal of Epidemiology, 183(10), 902–910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hirsch, B. J. (1979). Psychological dimensions of social networks: A multimethod analysis. American Journal of Community Psychology, 7(3), 263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hirsch, B. J. (1980). Natural support systems and coping with major life changes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 8(2), 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hittner, J. B., May, K., & Silver, N. C. (2003). A Monte Carlo evaluation of tests for comparing dependent correlations. The Journal of General Psychology, 130(2), 149–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hobfoll, S. E., & London, P. (1986). The relationship of self-concept and social support to emotional distress among women during war. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 4(2), 189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hurlbert, J., Haines, V., & Beggs, J. (2000). Core networks and tie activation: What kinds of routine networks allocate resources in nonroutine situations? American Sociological Review, 65, 598–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ichida, Y., Goshu, Y., Hirai, H., Kondō, K., & Kobayashi, S. (2005). The health of the aged and social capital: Multilevel analysis (in Japanese). Journal of Society Rural Statistical Planning, 24, S277–S282.Google Scholar
  35. Iida, A. (2000). Quality of social support and psychological adjustment among the elderly: Patterns of exchanging social support in family-dominant and non-family-dominant elderly (in Japanese). The Japanese Journal of Health Psychology, 13(2), 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Inaba, Y. (2005). Economic implications of social capital: How do we deal with externalities? (in Japanese). Planning and Public Management, 28(4), 17–22.Google Scholar
  37. Inaba, Y., Wada, Y., Ichida, Y., & Nishikawa, M. (2015). Which part of community social capital is related to life satisfaction and self-rated health? A multilevel analysis based on a nationwide mail survey in Japan. Social Science and Medicine, 142, 169–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kim, H., Sugisawa, H., Okabayashi, H., Fukaya, T., & Shibata, H. (1999). A longitudinal study on social support and life satisfaction among Japanese elderly (in Japanese). Japanese Journal of Public Health, 46(7), 532–541.Google Scholar
  39. Lance, C. E., Butts, M. M., & Michels, L. C. (2006). The sources of four commonly reported cutoff criteria: What did they really say? Organizational Research Methods, 9(2), 202–220. Scholar
  40. Lebowitz, A. J. (2016). Cross-sectional data within 1 year of the Fukushima meltdown: Effect-size of predictors for depression. Community Mental Health Journal, 52(1), 94–101. Scholar
  41. Lebowitz, A. J. (2017). Relational satisfaction from providing and receiving support is associated with reduced post-disaster depression: Data from within one year of the 2011 Japan Triple Disaster. Community Mental Health Journal, 53(2), 202–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lee, H. J., Lyu, J., Lee, C. M., & Burr, J. A. (2013). Intergenerational financial exchange and the psychological well-being of older adults in the Republic of Korea. Aging & Mental Health, 18(1), 30–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Liao, C. C., Yeh, C. J., Lee, S. H., Liao, W. C., Liao, M. Y., & Lee, M. C. (2014). Providing instrumental social support is more beneficial to reduce mortality risk among the elderly with low educational level in Taiwan: A 12-year follow-up national longitudinal study. Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 19(4), 447–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. MacGillivray, A., & Walker, P. (2000). Local social capital: Making it work on the ground. In S. Baron, J. Field, & T. Schuller (Eds.), Social capital: Critical perspectives (pp. 197–211). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Marsden, P. V. (1987). Core discussion networks of Americans. American Sociological Review, 57, 122–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Marsden, P. V., & Friedkin, N. E. (1994). Network studies of social influence. In S. Wasserman & J. Galaskiewicz (Eds.), Advances in Social Network Analysis: Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 3–25). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Matsuoka, Y., Nishi, D., Nakaya, N., Sone, T., Noguchi, H., & Hamazaki, K. (2012). Concern over radiation exposure and psychological distress among rescue workers following the Great East Japan Earthquake Concern over radiation exposure and distress. BMC Public Health, 12, 249–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mitchell, J. C. (1969). The concept and use of social networks. In J. C. Mitchell (Ed.), Social Networks in Urban Situations: Analyses of Personal Relationships in Central African Towns (pp. 51–76). Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill.Google Scholar
  49. Morenoff, J. D., Sampson, R. J., & Raudenbush, S. W. (2001). Neighborhood inequality, collective efficacy, and the spatial dynamics of urban violence. Criminology, 39(3), 517–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pietrzak, R. H., Van Ness, P. H., Fried, T. R., Galea, S., & Norris, F. H. (2013). Trajectories of posttraumatic stress symptomatology in older persons affected by a large-magnitude disaster. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47(4), 520–526. Scholar
  51. Putnam, R. D. (2001). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  52. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A Self-Report Depression Scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1(3), 385–401. Scholar
  53. Reynolds, A. D., & Crea, T. M. (2015). Peer influence processes for youth delinquency and depression. Journal of Adolescence, 43, 83–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Saigo, T., Nakajima, S., Ogawa, S., & Tayama, J. (2013). Post-traumatic stress symptoms of disaster medical assistance staff in the Great East Japan Earthquake: Relation to controllability for intrusion and post-traumatic stress symptoms (in Japanese). Behavioral Medicine Research, 19(1), 3–10.Google Scholar
  55. Shima, S., Shikano, T., Kitamura, T., & Asai, M. (1985). New self-rating scales for depression (In Japanese). Seishin Igaku, 27(6), 717–723.Google Scholar
  56. Sijtsma, K. (2009). On the use, the misuse, and the very limited usefulness of Cronbach. Psychometrika, 74(1), 107–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Son, J., & Lin, N. (2008). Social capital and civic action: A network-based approach. Social Science Research, 37(1), 330–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stokes, J. P. (1983). Predicting satisfaction with social support from social network structure. American Journal of Community Psychology, 11(2), 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sung, K. (2003). Influencing variables on life satisfaction of Korean elders in institutions. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, 33(8), 1093–1100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Takahashi, S., Kuwahara, Y., & Matsui, Y. (2014). Acute stress reaction of the disaster-affected local governments’ employees by the Great East Japan Earthquake (in Japanese). Stress Science Research, 29, 60–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Takahashi, K., & Sakamoto, A. (2000). Assessing social relationships in adolescents and adults: Constructing and validating the Affective Relationships Scale. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 24(4), 451–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Taylor, J., & Turner, R. (2001). A longitudinal study of the role and significance of mattering to others for depressive symptoms. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42(3), 310–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Trivers, R. (1971). The evolution of reciprocal altruism. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 46(1), 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tsuno, K., Oshima, K., Kubota, K., & Kawakami, N. (2014). Personal resilience and post-traumatic stress symptoms of local government employees: Six months after the 2011 Magnitude 9.0 East Japan Earthquake (in Japanese). Sangyo Eiseigaku Zasshi, 56(6), 245–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Weiss, D., & Marmar, C. (1997). The impact of the Event Scale-Revised. In J. J. P. Wilson & T. M. Keane (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD (pp. 399–411). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  66. Wellman, B., Craven, P., Whitaker, M., Stevens, H., Shorter, A., DuToit, S., et al. (1973). Community ties and support systems: From intimacy to support. In: The form of cities in central Canada: Selected papers (pp. 152–167). Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  67. Wen, M., Cagney, K. A., & Christakis, N. A. (2005). Effect of specific aspects of community social environment on the mortality of individuals diagnosed with serious illness. Social Science and Medicine, 61, 1119–1134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wind, T. R., Fordham, M., & Komproe, I. H. (2011). Social capital and post-disaster mental health. Global Health Action, 4, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Yanagisawa, S., Baba, Y., Kusagawa, Y., Kawai, F., Kobayashi, F., Ito, C., et al. (2003). What does social support provision to friends mean for the elderly? (in Japanese). Journal of the Mie University of Nursing, 7, 1–11.Google Scholar
  70. Yotsui, M., Campbell, C., & Honma, T. (2016). Collective action by older people in natural disasters: The Great East Japan Earthquake. Ageing & Society, 36(5), 1052–1082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Yutakajima, T., & Sato, S. (2014). Providing social support among older adults: A qualitative study (in Japanese). Behavioral Sciences of Life, Aging, Sickness and Death, 17–18, 65–78.Google Scholar
  72. Zinbarg, R. E., Revelle, W., Yovel, I., & Li, W. (2005). Cronbach’s α, Revelle’s β, and McDonald’s ωh: Their relations with each other and two alternative conceptualizations of reliability. Psychometrika, 70(1), 123–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jichi Medical UniversityShimotsukeJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine, Ibaraki Prefectural Central Hospital Ibaraki, Clinical Educational and Training CenterUniversity of TsukubaKasamaJapan
  3. 3.Toyo Gakuen UniversityTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations