What's the Matter with Those People: Rethinking TMI

November 1984 (VOL. 2, NO. 3)

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This paper examines the long-term psychological effects of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island (TMI) on a community situated almost entirely within five miles of the reactor. Data were collected in October-November, 1979 (Time I) from 391 residents 25 years of age and older and in October-November 1980 (Time II) from a subsample of these subjects. The findings of the study indicate that: 1) the community can be characterized as distressed at Time I and at Time II; and 2) in general, perceived threat to physical health is more highly associated with distress than personal or demographic characteristics. The relationship of these findings to previous research findings regarding long-term psychosocial effects following other types of disasters is discussed.