National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine
State Institution "The National Research Center for Radiation Medicine"

ISSN 2313-4607 (Online)
ISSN 2304-8336 (Print)

Problems of Radiation Medicine and Radiobiology



V. Î. Buzunov, K. N. Loganovsky, L. I. Krasnikova, M. O. Bomko, Yu. M. Belyaev, Zh. S. Yaroshenko, T. Ye. Domashevska

State Institution "National Research Center for Radiation Medicine of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine", 53 Melnykova Str., 04050 Kyiv, Ukraine

Social and psychological state of the Chornobyl clean/up workers. Risk factors for negative changes

It is generally recognized that the Chornobyl nuclear accident caused strong psychosocial stress affecting the entire population of Ukraine, primarily people involved in recovery operations. But what are the reasons? What is the struc- ture of stressors? What are their social, medical and biological consequences, what are strategy and preventive meas- ures? Issues that require special research and development.
Objective. To study social and psychological state of the Chornobyl cleanup workers 1986–1987, and to determine regularities of changes and dangerous risk factors.
Materials and Methods. On the basis of Polyclinic of Radiation Registry, NRCRM, we conducted sample epidemiolog- ical study of social and psychological state of the Chornobyl clean-up workers 1986–1987. We used method of inter- viewing based on «questionnaire», specially developed for this purpose. The study was conducted in October 2013 – May 2015. The sample numbered 235 males aged 18–50 at the time of the accident. Their average age was (31.3 ± 5.3) years at the time of the accident and (58.9 ± 5.3) at the time of survey.
Results. The results revealed that the Chornobyl nuclear accident and its consequences caused strong social and psychological stress among clean-up workers 1986–1987. We have identified a set of factors closely related to the Chornobyl accident, they have caused a sustainable development of mental syndrome – «Anxiety about their own health and the health of family members, especially children». The other set of stressors which are not closely relat- ed to the Chornobyl accident but are the result of the social and economic, social and political situation in the coun- try. However the former was found to be the cause of such a psychological state as «dissatisfaction with the com- pleteness and quality of life».
Conclusions. Social and psychological state of the Chornobyl clean-up workers 1986–1987 is estimated as «poor» and it integrally can be characterized as a state of chronic psychosocial stress. Mental syndrome «Anxiety about per- sonal health and the health of family members» and psychological syndrome «Dissatisfaction with living condi- tions» are main consequences of this state. We identified the main stressors closely related to the consequences of the Chornobyl accident as well as those that are not related to the accident but affect profoundly the level of men- tal, social and physical well-being. Results of the research are of great importance in organization and provision of social, medical and antiradiation protection of population under emergency situations involving radiation exposure.
Key words: Chornobyl accident, clean-up workers, social and psychological state, risk factors.

Problems of radiation medicine and radiobiology. 2016;21:106-118.

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