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Research Letter
August 15, 2012

Psychological Distress in Workers at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry, National Defense Medical College, Saitama, Japan (Drs Shigemura and Nomura); and Department of Public Health, Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Ehime, Japan (Drs Tanigawa [] and Saito).

JAMA. 2012;308(7):667-669. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9699

To the Editor: A magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered plant explosions and a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The nearby Daini nuclear power plant also experienced damage but remained intact. Studies after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl1 suggest nuclear power plant workers are at risk for general psychological distress, including posttraumatic stress response (PTSR). We examined the psychological status of Fukushima workers 2 to 3 months after the disaster.

Following approval by the ethics committees of Ehime University and National Defense Medical College, we recruited all full-time nuclear power plant workers from the Daiichi (n = 1053) and Daini (n = 707) plants in May and June 2011. Written informed consent was obtained.