Lingering health-related anxiety about radiation among Fukushima residents as correlated with media information following the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
Nakayama, C.; Sato, O.; Sugita, M.; Nakayama, T.; Kuroda, Y.; Orui, M.; Iwasa, H.; Yasumura, S.; Rudd, R.E.
Plos one 14(5): E0217285
Following the March 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, many residents of Fukushima have faced anxieties about the health impacts of radiation exposure. Considering that source of information may influence resident anxiety, this study aimed to elucidate the correlation between the two. In addition, a health literacy query was included to examine a possible relationship between anxiety and health literacy skills. A mail survey was conducted in August 2016 among 2000 residents of Fukushima Prefecture aged 20 to 79 years. Survey items included questions about current health anxieties caused by radiation, trusted sources of information about radiation, and media used to obtain information on radiation. The survey valid response rate was 43.4%. Results of multiple linear regression analysis revealed that anxiety was significantly higher for the groups indicating "trust in citizen groups" and "use of internet sites." Anxiety was significantly lower for the groups indicating "trust in government ministries," "trust in local government," and "use of local broadcast television." Also anxiety was significantly lower for groups with higher health literacy. It was found that the significant relationship to anxiety varies depending on the sources of trust and media used. There is a possibility that this was caused by the difference between the contents of each information and media reports. In preparation for any future nuclear accident, government may consider action to improve the media literacy of residents. In addition, improving health literacy of both the recipient and the sender of information can improve access to information and thereby safeguard the health and well-being of the public.