The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Online ISSN : 1349-3329
Print ISSN : 0040-8727
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Decontamination Reduces Radiation Anxiety and Improves Subjective Well-Being after the Fukushima Accident
Michio MurakamiShigeki HaradaTaikan Oki
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Volume 241 (2017) Issue 2 Pages 103-116

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Abstract

Since the 2011 Fukushima accident, rebuilding society to protect against anxiety and improve feelings of well-being has grown in importance. A questionnaire was carried out among residents of Marumori Town, Igu County, Miyagi Prefecture, to evaluate the effects of radiation-related countermeasures implemented by the town to reduce residents’ anxiety and improve their subjective well-being (response rate: 31%; valid responses: n = 174). Further, to propose effective countermeasures regarding town planning for the improvement in subjective well-being, we analyzed associations between residents’ sense of attachment to the town and subjective well-being, and then identified primary factors behind their sense of attachment. Marumori Town, located about 50 km to the northwest of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, is a good site for evaluating the effects of countermeasures taken by the town itself to fight anxiety, because there have been limited surveys and professional medical support, and mitigation efforts were primarily initiated by the town. The results suggested that decontamination evaluations were associated with a reduction in anxiety after the accident, which contributed to an increase in residents’ subjective well-being. On the other hand, the evaluation of items related to human interactions in the community and the natural environment was found as a primary factor of sense of attachment toward the town, which contributed to an increase of residents’ subjective well-being. This is the first study to quantitatively measure the effects of radiation-related countermeasures on reducing anxiety and to propose an effective policy approach for improving subjective well-being.

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