The Relationship between Media Consumption and Health-Related Anxieties after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

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Abstract

Background:The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster caused a global panic by a release of harmful radionuclides. In a disaster setting, misusage of contemporary media sources available today can lead to disseminated incorrect information and panic. The study aims to build a scale which examines associations between media and individual anxieties, and to propose effective media usages for future disaster management.Methods:The University of Tokyo collaborated with the Fukushima local government to conduct a radiation-health-seminar for a total of 1560 residents, at 12 different locations in Fukushima. A 13 item questionnaire collected once before and after a radiation-seminar was used on factor analysis to develop sub-scales for multiple regression models, to determine relationships between the sub-scales and media type consumed. A paired t-test was used to examine any changes in sub-scale of pre- and post-seminar scores.Results:Three sub-scales were revealed and were associated with different media types: was with rumors, while concern for the future was positively associated with regional-newspapers and negatively with national-newspapers. Anxiety about social-disruption was associated with radio. The seminar had a significant effect on anxiety reduction for all the three sub-scales.Conclusion:Different media types were associated with various heightened concerns, and that a radiation seminar was helpful to reduce anxieties in the post-disaster setting. By tailoring post-disaster messages via specific media types, i.e., radio, it may be possible to effectively convey important information, as well as to calm fears about particular elements of post-disaster recovery and to combat rumors. © 2013 Sugimoto et al.

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Sugimoto, A., Nomura, S., Tsubokura, M., Matsumura, T., Muto, K., Sato, M., & Gilmour, S. (2013). The Relationship between Media Consumption and Health-Related Anxieties after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster. PLoS ONE, 8(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0065331

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