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September 1983

No Accident-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Pittsburgh Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic Psychiatric Epidemiology Program 3811 O'Hara St Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(9):1037. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790080119025

In Reply.—  Dr Mendelson's comments about our report focus on the role that perceptions play in the reactions of persons to extreme stress. Thus, it is necessary to emphasize that the use of the term nuclear accident in the title of our article was based on the indisputable fact that the occurrences at TMI were perceived as an accident by most segments of society. Whether the sequence of events and the damage to the nuclear core constitute an "accident" in a technical sense is an issue still being debated by engineers. We are not qualified to comment on the mechanical complexities of operating and controlling a nuclear facility.The media certainly gave a great deal of coverage to the evolving situation at TMI. Although many analysts of these events have argued that media coverage of the accident was "sensational and alarmist," our impression is that the media essentially reflected the confusion of

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