174931 Community disasters and risk perceptions: The legacy of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster 20 years later

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 1:45 PM

Richard E. Adams, PhD , Department of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Lin Tung, PhD , Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Evelyn Bromet, PhD , Dept. of Psychiatry, Stony Brook Univeristy School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY
We assess the link between perceptions of risk related to exposure to a community disaster and physical/psychological health using data collected 20 years after the Chornoby Nuclear Power Plant (CNPP) accident. The data come from the second wave (April 1 and May 31, 2006) of a two-wave study focusing on families evacuated from the radiation exposed areas around the CNPP and were living in Kyiv. The baseline study surveyed 300 evacuee and 300 control mothers whose children were school classmates and matched on gender. The follow-up survey had a re-interview rate of 85% (n=254) for evacuees and 80% (n=239) for matched controls. In addition, 304 Kyiv mothers with children in the same age range as those in the original sample were interviewed to form a population-based control group. All interviews were face-to-face (Total N=797). Outcome measures were the Symptom Checklist 90, self-rated health, number of sick days, the WHO Disability Assessment, and the Migraine Disability Assessment. Bivariate results showed that evacuee mothers rated the consequences of the CNPP accident as “worse than feared,” having a very strong affect on their health and the health of their children, the most significant event in their lives, and having a negative effect on the health of future generations compared to matched and population control mothers. Perceived risks were related to some of our outcome measures, especially if respondents believed their or their child's health had been adversely affected. These associations were reduced after controlling for demographics, recent life events, and family social support.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the role of risk perceptions in the link between exposure to a community disaster and measures of physical and psychological health.

Keywords: Disasters, Well-Being

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Data analysis and interpretation of the results.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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