An Assessment of Conflicting Views on the Consequences of Community Disasters for Mental Health

Quarantelli, E. L.
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Disaster Research Center
In the early 1980’s, there is much controversy in the United States in connection with the opening and reopening of nuclear power plants, and the siting of or the living next to hazardous waste sites. While many issues are involved, a central one is the question of the psychological impact on the affected population. If the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania were to be started up again, would there be negative mental health consequences for the area residents? Have there been deleterious mental effects as a result of the exposure to hazardous wastes in the Times Beach, Missouri situation? Public hearings, court cases, and mass media accounts associated with these and similar events openly state and speculate about both the short and long term consequences of such actual or potential stressful situations on the mental well-being of the people most directly involved.
hazardous waste , nuclear power plant , community disaster , mental health