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IJERPH, Vol. 14, Pages 1067: Perception of Radiation Risk as a Predictor of Mid-Term Mental Health after a Nuclear Disaster: The Fukushima Health Management Survey

15 Sep 2017

IJERPH, Vol. 14, Pages 1067: Perception of Radiation Risk as a Predictor of Mid-Term Mental Health after a Nuclear Disaster: The Fukushima Health Management Survey

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph14091067

Authors:
Itaru Miura
Masato Nagai
Masaharu Maeda
Mayumi Harigane
Senta Fujii
Misari Oe
Hirooki Yabe
Yuriko Suzuki
Hideto Takahashi
Tetsuya Ohira
Seiji Yasumura
Masafumi Abe

Predictive factors including risk perception for mid-term mental health after a nuclear disaster remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between perceived radiation risk and other factors at baseline and mid-term mental health after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011 in Japan. A mail-based questionnaire survey was conducted in January 2012 and January 2013. Mental health status was assessed using the K6 scale. Psychological distress over the 2-year period was categorized into the following four groups: chronic, recovered, resistant, or worsened. Most participants (80.3%) were resistant to the disaster. A positive association was found between the radiation risk perception regarding immediate effects and the worsened group in women. Baseline post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a history of psychiatric disease predicted being in the chronic or worsened group in mid-term course. These results suggest that evacuees who believed that their health was substantially affected by the nuclear disaster were at an increased risk of having poor mid-term mental health in women. Careful assessment of risk perception after a nuclear disaster, including the presence of PTSD or a history of psychiatric disease, is needed for appropriate interventions.

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