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. O. Buzunov, K. M. Loganovsky, L. I. Krasnikova, M. O. Bomko, Yu. M. Belyayev,
Zh. S. Yaroshenko, T. E. Domashevska

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

Psychosocial state of the adult evacuees and risk factors of negative change

Numerous scientific studies have been carried out since the ChNPP accident indicating that the last one has caused a severe psychosocial stress in survivors. Population of radioactively contaminated territories, people migrated from the areas of strict radiation control, and accident consequences clean-up participants in 1986-1987 were covered by the conducted research projects. Nature of the stress herewith is polygenic and includes factors directly related to the Chernobyl catastrophe, and factors being a result of social and economic circumstances. This report is devoted to the results of research on psychosocial state of population evacuated from the 30-km zone of the ChNPP.
Objective. Study and evaluation of psychosocial state of population evacuated from the 30-km ChNPP zone at the age of 18 years and older; identification of potential psychosocial risk factors for the health loss.
Materials and methods. The sampling epidemiological study of psychosocial state of population aged 8–50 years evacuated from the 30-km zone of ChNPP was conducted at the NRCRM Radiation Registry Outpatient Clinic and Radiation Psychoneurology Department. The study subjects (n=258) were mostly (98%) females. Study was conducted from October 2013 till May 2015. All the sample members were registered since 1992 in the system of life-long health monitoring, i.e. the NRCRM Clinical and Epidemiological Registry. Study subjects were interviewed through the method using an original «Questioning Inventory». Mathematical processing of study results was held using the Epi Info-7 software package.
Results. According to the study results, a nuclear accident at the Chornobyl NPP has become a powerful psychosocial stress for evacuated people. Psychosocial state of the evacuees, formed during the post-accident period, with full reason can be defined as a state of stable, chronic psychosocial stress. Nature of factors that caused the stress development is polygenic. Block of stressors directly related to the accident was determined, namely there were «change of radiation and ecological situation», «ionizing irradiation», «evacuation», and «radical breaking of dynamic stereotype of behavior and life». In parallel there was selected a block of stress-factors generated by that background, i.e. psychological, social, economic, and cultural, on which a nuclear disaster was imposed upon. The effects of stress have manifested as a persistent syndrome of «anxiety» for the personal health and health of family members, primarily the children, and as a stable state of «dissatisfaction» with fullness and quality of life.
Conclusions. The nuclear accident at the ChNPP has been the cause of a strong psychosocial stress in adult evacuated population, especially in women. Further in a remote period the stress was transformed into a stable, chronic form. Nature of stress is polygenic and includes stressors directly related to the accident, and stressors that are not directly related to the accident consequences, but are due to the level of social, economic, medical, and informational protection of survivors. Data presented in the paper are rather enough important for the formation of strategies and measures for social and psychological protection of population in an event of nuclear accidents and incidents.
Key words: Chornobyl catastrophe, evacuated population, psychosocial stress, stressors.

Problems of radiation medicine and radiobiology. 2017;22:79-96

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