Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-9nx8b Total loading time: 0.383 Render date: 2023-01-29T09:02:17.565Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Mental health problems in the Gomel region (Belarus): an analysis of risk factors in an area affected by the Chernobyl disaster

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2009

J. M. Havenaar*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Utrecht, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research and Institute of Social Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Centre for Sociological Studies ‘Oracul’, Gomel, Belarus
W. Van Den Brink
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Utrecht, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research and Institute of Social Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Centre for Sociological Studies ‘Oracul’, Gomel, Belarus
J. Van Den Bout
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Utrecht, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research and Institute of Social Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Centre for Sociological Studies ‘Oracul’, Gomel, Belarus
A. P. Kasyanenko
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Utrecht, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research and Institute of Social Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Centre for Sociological Studies ‘Oracul’, Gomel, Belarus
N. W. Poelijoe
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Utrecht, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research and Institute of Social Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Centre for Sociological Studies ‘Oracul’, Gomel, Belarus
T. Wohlfarth
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Utrecht, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research and Institute of Social Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Centre for Sociological Studies ‘Oracul’, Gomel, Belarus
L. I. Meijler-Iljina
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Utrecht, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research and Institute of Social Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Centre for Sociological Studies ‘Oracul’, Gomel, Belarus
*
1Address for correspondence: Dr J. M. Havenaar, University Hospital Utrecht, Department of Psychiatry, Postbox 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Synopsis

The epidemiology of mental problems in the Gomel region in the republic of Belarus was studied in a two-stage survey of a broad based population sample (N = 1617), using the General Health Questionnaire (12-item version) and the Munich Diagnostic Checklist for DSM-III-R. The Gomel region is one of the areas that was most severely affected by the Chernobyl nuclear diaster in 1986. In the studied population sample 64·8% had a GHQ-score above the threshold of 2. A DSM-III-R psychiatric disorder was present in 35·8%, with especially high rates for affective (16·5%) and anxiety disorders (12·6%). Dysthymia, general anxiety disorder, adjustment disorders and ‘not otherwise specified syndromes’ made up almost two-thirds of the observed morbidity (22·9%). A higher prevalence of mental health problems, both in terms of the GHQ and the DSM-III-R was observed among people who have been evacuated and in mothers with children under 18 years of age. These data indicate that the Chernobyl nuclear disaster may be partly responsible for the high prevalence of (milder) psychiatric disorders and psychological distress in the Gomel region, even 6 years after the event. Future studies comparing the data from Gomel region with an unexposed area will have to provide a more definite answer concerning the impact of this nuclear disaster on mental health.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCE

Bout van den, J., Havenaar, J. M. & Meijler-Iljina, L. I. (1995). Health problems in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster: radiation, traumatic stress or chronic stress? In Beyond Trauma: Cultural and Societal Dynamics (ed. Kleber, R. J., Figley, C. and Gersons, B.), pp. 213232. Plenum Press: New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bout van den, J., Havenaar, J. M. & Kasyanenko, A. P. (1996). Chernobyl related attitudes among inhabitants of areas contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster (in preparation).Google Scholar
Bromet, E. J. & Schulberg, H. C. (1986). The Three Mile Island disaster: a search for high-risk groups. In Disaster Stress Studies: New Methods and Findings (ed. Shore, J. H.), pp. 119. American Psychiatric Press: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
Brown, G. W. & Harris, T. (1978). Social Origins of Depression. A Study of Psychiatric Disorder in Women. Tavistock: London.Google Scholar
Darby, S. C., & Reeves, G. K. (1991). Lessons of Chernobyl. Psychological problems seem to be a major health effect at present. British Medical Journal 303, 13471348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davidson, L. M. & Baum, A. (1986). Chronic stress and posttraumatic stress disorders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 54, 303308.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Duncan-Jones, P. & Henderson, S. (1978). The use of a two-phase design in a population survey. Social Psychiatry 13, 231237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fairly, M., Langeluddecke, P. & Tennant, C. (1986). Psychological and physical morbidity in the aftermath of a cyclone. Psychological Medicine 16, 617676.Google Scholar
Fuller, W. A. (1986). Statistical Laboratory. Iowa State University: Iowa.Google Scholar
Gibbs, M. S. (1989). Factors in the victim that mediate between disaster and psychopathology: a review. Journal of Traumatic Stress 2, 489513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Giel, R. (1991). The psychosocial aftermath of two major disasters in the Soviet Union. Journal of Traumatic Stress 4, 381393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goldberg, D. & Williams, P. (1988). A Users Guide to the General Health Questionnaire. NFER-Nelson: Windsor.Google Scholar
Havenaar, J. M., Poelijoe, N. W., Kaasjager, K., Westermann, A. & van den Bout, J. (1993). Report on a Population Survey in the Gomel Region, Belarus (Technical Report). RIVM Report, National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection: Bilthoven, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
Havenaar, J. M., Rumyantzeva, G. M., Filipenko, V. V., van den Brink, W., Poelijoe, N. W., van den Bout, J. & Romasenko, L. (1995). Experiences with a checklist for DSM-III-R in Russia and Belarus. Inter-rater reliability and concurrent validity of the Munich Diagnostic Checklist for DSM-III-R in two former Soviet countries. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 92, 419424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Havenaar, J. M., Poelijoe, N. W., Kasyanenko, A. P., van den Bout, J. & Koeter, M. (1996). Screening for psychiatric disorders in an area affected by the Chernobyl disaster: the reliability and validity of three psychiatric screening questionnaires in Belarus. Psychological Medicine 26, 837844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henderson, S., Duncan-Jones, P., Byrne, D. G., Scott, R. & Adcock, S. (1979). Psychiatric disorder in Canberra. A standardized study of prevalence. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 60, 355374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hiller, W., Zaudig, M. & Mombour, W. (1990). Development of diagnostic checklists for use in routine clinical care. A guideline designed to assess DSM-III-R diagnoses. Archives of General Psychiatry 47, 782784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Horich, L., Garnets, O. N. & Panok, V. G. (1995). Social-psychological rehabilitation centers' conception in regions affected by the Chernobyl NPP accident.Proceedings of the International Conference on the Mental Health Consequences of the Chernobyl Diaster: Current State and Future Prospects, p. 21. 05 24–28, 1995, Kiev Ukraine. Physicians of Chernobyl: Kiev.Google Scholar
Kazakov, V. S., Demidchik, E. P. & Astakhova, L. N. (1992). Thyroid cancer after Chernobyl. Scientific correspondence. Nature 359, 2122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kessler, R. C., McGonagle, K. Z., Zhao, S., Nelson, C. B., Hughes, M., Eshleman, S., Wittchen, H.-U. & Kendler, K. S. (1994). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders in the United States: results from the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry 51, 819.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Prilipko, L. L., Nyagu, A. I., Kozlova, I. A., Gayduk, F. M., Loganovsky, K. N. & Podkorytiov, V. S. (1995). Results of the WHO pilot project ‘Brain damage in utero’ (IPHECA).Proceedings of the International Conference on the Mental Health Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster: Current State and Future Prospects, p. 317. 05 24–28, 1995, Kiev, Ukraine. Physicians of Chernobyl: KievGoogle Scholar
Robins, L. N. & Regier, D. A. (eds.) (1991). Psychiatric Disorders in America. The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. The Free Press/Macmillan: New York.Google Scholar
Shigematsu, I. (1991). The International Chernobyl Project. An Overview. Assessment of Radiological Consequences and Evaluation of Protective Measures. Report by an International Advisory Committee. IAEA: Vienna.Google Scholar
Stiehm, E. (1992). The psychological fallout from Chernobyl. American Journal of Disease in Childhood 146, 761762.Google Scholar
UNICEF/WHO (1992). Ukraine, Crisis and Transition: Meeting Human Needs. Report of a UNICEF/WHO Collaborative Mission with the Participation of UNDP, UNFPA, and WFP. Kiev, 25–28 02 1992.Google Scholar
Viinamäki, H., Kumpusalo, E., Myllykangas, M., Salomaa, S., Kumpusalo, L., Komakov, S., Ilichenko, I., Zhukowsky, G. & Nissinen, A. (1995). The Chernobyl accident and mental wellbeing – a population study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 91, 396401.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Williams, D. (1994). Chernobyl, eight years on. Nature 371, 556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wittchen, H.-U., Burke, J. D., Semler, G., Pfister, H., Von Cranach, M. & Zaudig, M. (1989). Recall and dating of psychiatric symptoms. Archives of General Psychiatry 46, 437443.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wiitchen, H.-U., Ahmoi Essau, C., van Zerssen, D., Krieg, J.-C. & Zaudig, M. (1992). Lifetime and six-month prevalence of mental disorders in the Munich follow-up study. Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 241, 247258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
47
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Mental health problems in the Gomel region (Belarus): an analysis of risk factors in an area affected by the Chernobyl disaster
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Mental health problems in the Gomel region (Belarus): an analysis of risk factors in an area affected by the Chernobyl disaster
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Mental health problems in the Gomel region (Belarus): an analysis of risk factors in an area affected by the Chernobyl disaster
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *