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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(9), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14091067

Perception of Radiation Risk as a Predictor of Mid-Term Mental Health after a Nuclear Disaster: The Fukushima Health Management Survey

1
Department of Neuropsychiatry, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan
2
Radiation Medical Science Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan
3
Department of Epidemiology, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan
4
Department of Disaster Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan
5
Department of Neuropsychiatry, School of Medicine, Kurume University, Fukuoka 830-0011, Japan
6
Department of Adult Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo 187-8553, Japan
7
Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Preparedness for and Response to Nuclear Disasters)
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: risk perception; nuclear disaster; mid-term mental health; evacuation; predictive factor risk perception; nuclear disaster; mid-term mental health; evacuation; predictive factor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Miura, I.; Nagai, M.; Maeda, M.; Harigane, M.; Fujii, S.; Oe, M.; Yabe, H.; Suzuki, Y.; Takahashi, H.; Ohira, T.; Yasumura, S.; Abe, M. Perception of Radiation Risk as a Predictor of Mid-Term Mental Health after a Nuclear Disaster: The Fukushima Health Management Survey. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1067.

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