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PLoS ONE. Associations between Disaster Exposures, Peritraumatic Distress, and Posttraumatic Stress Responses in Fukushima Nuclear Plant Workers following the 2011 Nuclear Accident: The Fukushima NEWS Project Study

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  • PLoS ONE. Associations between Disaster Exposures, Peritraumatic Distress, and Posttraumatic Stress Responses in Fukushima Nuclear Plant Workers following the 2011 Nuclear Accident: The Fukushima NEWS Project Study

    [Source: PLoS ONE, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


    Open Access / Peer-Reviewed / Research Article

    Associations between Disaster Exposures, Peritraumatic Distress, and Posttraumatic Stress Responses in Fukushima Nuclear Plant Workers following the 2011 Nuclear Accident: The Fukushima NEWS Project Study

    Jun Shigemura, Takeshi Tanigawa, Daisuke Nishi, Yutaka Matsuoka, Soichiro Nomura, Aihide Yoshino

    Published: February 19, 2014 / DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087516


    Abstract

    Background

    The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The nearby Daini plant also experienced substantial damage but remained intact. Workers for the both plants experienced multiple stressors as disaster victims and workers, as well as the criticism from the public due to their company's post-disaster management. Little is known about the psychological pathway mechanism from nuclear disaster exposures, distress during and immediately after the event (peritraumatic distress; PD), to posttraumatic stress responses (PTSR).


    Methods

    A self-report questionnaire was administered to 1,411 plant employees (Daiichi, n = 831; Daini, n = 580) 23 months post-disaster (total response rate: 80.2%). The socio-demographic characteristics and disaster-related experiences were assessed as independent variables. PD and PTSR were measured by the Japanese versions of Peritraumatic Distress Inventory and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, respectively. The analysis was conducted separately for the two groups. Bivariate regression analyses were performed to assess the relationships between independent variables, PD, and PTSR. Significant variables were subsequently entered in the multiple regression analyses to explore the pathway mechanism for development of PTSR.


    Results

    For both groups, PTSR highly associated with PD (Daiichi: adjusted β, 0.66; p<0.001; vs. Daini: adjusted β, 0.67; p<0.001). PTSR also associated with discrimination/slurs experience (Daiichi: 0.11; p<0.001; vs. Daini, 0.09; p = 0.005) and presence of preexisting illness(es) (Daiichi: 0.07; p = 0.005; vs. Daini: 0.15; p<.0001). Other disaster-related variables were likely to be associated with PD than PTSR.


    Conclusion

    Among the Fukushima nuclear plant workers, disaster exposures associated with PD. PTSR was highly affected by PD along with discrimination/slurs experience.
    _____

    Citation: Shigemura J, Tanigawa T, Nishi D, Matsuoka Y, Nomura S, et al. (2014) Associations between Disaster Exposures, Peritraumatic Distress, and Posttraumatic Stress Responses in Fukushima Nuclear Plant Workers following the 2011 Nuclear Accident: The Fukushima NEWS Project Study. PLoS ONE 9(2): e87516. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087516

    Editor: Kenji Hashimoto, Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health, Japan

    Received: September 10, 2013; Accepted: December 22, 2013; Published: February 19, 2014

    Copyright: 2014 Shigemura et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    Funding: This work was partly supported by Health and Labour Sciences Research Grants (Research on Occupational Safety and Health H24-001 and 25-H24-001) from the Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare of Japan and by Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), Japan Science and Technology Agency. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

    Competing interests: JS, SN, and AY provided mental health assistance to TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plant employees according to official requests from Daini and a Japanese government cabinet order to the Ministry of Defense. TT is a Daini part-time occupational physician. DN and YM report no conflict of interest disclosures. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.


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