Psychological Response of Mothers of Young Children to the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Accidents One Decade Later
Over the past two decades, our research group investigated the psychological well-being of mothers of young children in the aftermath of the nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island (TMI) in central Pennsylvania and the melt down at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northwest Ukraine. In spite of differences in culture and magnitude, these two catastrophic events had a number of common characteristics, making the comparison in the psychological responses to these events extremely valuable. Common features included the intangible nature of exposure to radiation, the delay in the evacuation order, incomplete disclosure by the authorities about what occurred, contradictory reports in the news media as the events unfolded, widespread rumors about adverse or bizarre effects on plants and animals, ensuing distrust of government authorities, the tendency to attribute new health problems to radiation exposure, fears about health effects on future generations, health monitoring by government agencies, and most important, lack of resolution about potential risks to the population at large.
KeywordsFatigue Depression Schizophrenia Dystonia Cardis
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