Toxic Turmoil pp 199-216 | Cite as

Responding to the Psychosocial Effects of Toxic Disaster

Policy Initiatives, Constraints, and Challenges
  • Steven M. Becker
Part of the The Plenum Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


This chapter examines the status of efforts to address the psychosocial effects of toxic disaster. Rather than investigating particular clinical or therapeutic issues, and rather than discussing specific interventions in great detail, the chapter focuses primarily on the level of policy. The aim is twofold: (1) to highlight the kinds of broad initiatives that have been undertaken to address the psychosocial consequences of toxic disasters, and (2) to consider some of the difficulties and challenges affecting policy development in this area.


Psychosocial Effect Nuclear Accident Hazardous Waste Site Radiation Accident Technological Disaster 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, J. E. (1994). Public policymaking: An introduction, 2nd edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  2. ATSDR. (1997). Agency profile and annual report, fiscal year 1997. Atlanta: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.Google Scholar
  3. ATSDR. (2000). Report of the expert panel workshop on the psychological responses to hazardous substances. Atlanta: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.Google Scholar
  4. Becker, S. M. (1997). Psychosocial assistance after environmental accidents: A policy perspective. Environmental Health Perspectives, 105(S6), 1557–1563.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker, S. M. (2000). Environmental disaster education at the university level: An integrative approach. Safety Science, 35, 95–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Becker, S. M. (2001). Psychosocial effects of radiation accidents. In I. Gusev, A. Guskova, F. A. Mettler, Jr. (Eds.), Medical management of radiation accidents, 2nd ed. (pp. 519–525). Boca Raton: CRC Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowler, R. M., Mergler, D., Huel, G., & Cone, J. E. (1994). Psychological, psychosocial, and psychophysiological seqeulae in a community affected by a railroad chemical disaster. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 601–624.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bromet, E. J., Parkinson, D. K., Dunn, L. O. (1990). Long-term mental health consequences of the accident at Three Mile Island. International Journal of Mental Health, 19, 48–60.Google Scholar
  9. Collins, D. L., & de Carvalho, A. B. (1993). Chronic stress from the Goiania CS-137 radiation accident. Behavioral Medicine, 18, 149–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eyestone, R. (1982). Why some issues are ignored. In James E. Anderson, ed., Cases in Public Policy-Making (2nd ed., chap. 2). New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  11. Gibbs, L. M. (1982, August 24). Community response to an emergency situation: Psychological destruction and the Love Canal. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  12. Gibbs, L. M. (1998). Love Canal: The story continues. Stony Creek, CT: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Havenaar, J. M., Rumyantzeva, G. M., van den Brink, W., Poelijoe, N. W., van den Bout, J., et al. (1997). Long-term mental health effects of the Chernobyl disaster: An epidemiologic survey of two former Soviet regions. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 1605–1607.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Havenaar, J. M., van den Brink, W., Kasyanenko, A. P., van den Bout, J., Meijler-Iljina, L., Poelijoe, N. W. (1996). Mental health problems in the Gomel region (Belarus): An analysis of risk factors in an area affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Psychological Meicine, 26, 845–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hess, R. E., & Wandersman, A. (1985). What can we learn from Love Canal?: A conversation with Lois Gibbs and Richard Valinsky. Prevention in Human Services, 4, 111–123.Google Scholar
  16. IFRC. (1996). International Federation of the Red Cross. Annex III: The Role of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Response to Technological Disasters. International Review of the Red Cross, 310, 55–130.Google Scholar
  17. IFRC. (2000). Chernobyl Humanitarian Assistance and Rehabilitation Programme (CHARP): A brief outline of the activities. International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.Google Scholar
  18. Jannson, B. S. (1994). Social policy: From theory to practice. 2nd ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks Cole.Google Scholar
  19. Jones, C. O. (1977). An introduction to the study of public policy. 2nd ed. North Scituate, MA: Duxbury Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kingdon, J. W. (1995). Agendas, alternatives, and public policies. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins College Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Palinkas, L. A., Downs, M. A., Petterson, J. S., Russell, J. (1993). Social, cultural, and psychological impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Human Organization, 52, 1–13.Google Scholar
  22. UNEP (1998). List of selected accidents involving hazardous substances, 1970–1998. Paris: United Nations Environment Programme.Google Scholar
  23. UNESCO. (1996). Community development centres for social and psychological rehabilitation in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine: Achievements and prospects. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Chernobyl Programme.Google Scholar
  24. Unger, D. G., Wandersman, A., & Hallman, W. (1992). Living near a hazardous waste facility: Coping with individual and family distress. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 62, 55–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven M. Becker
    • 1
  1. 1.Schools of Public Health and Medicine, and Center for Disaster PreparednessThe University of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

Personalised recommendations