Background: Yarn Alive (YA) is a community knitting program that brings the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake survivors together to perform acts of kindness by donating their creations to other disaster survivors in Japan and worldwide. We measured post-traumatic growth among survivors who participated (YA participants) and who did not participate (YA non-participants) in the YA program.
Methods: In May 2017, we conducted a cross-sectional survey of 98 YA participants and 97 YA non-participants. All subjects were 20 years or older, female, and have experienced the 2011 disaster. We compared post-traumatic growth among the two groups using t-tests for two independent samples.
Results: Of the 72 YA participants and 60 YA non-participants who responded, 83.3% (N=60) and 73.3% (N=44) were 60 years or older, respectively. Mean total post-traumatic growth scores were 63.7 (SD=19.3) and 58.8 (SD=21.1) for the YA participants and non-participants, respectively (p-value=0.252). YA participants reported a higher level of spiritual change in the post-traumatic growth inventory (mean=5.1, SD=2.4) compared to YA non-participants (mean=3.6, SD=2.7; p-value=0.004).
Conclusions: Yarn Alive may have served as a form of post-disaster self-care where spiritual growth may have taken place through social support, creative expression, and the experience of helping others.