Chernobyl Liquidators' Health
as a Psycho-Social Trauma

4. Frameworks of non-radiation impact of stay and work in the Chernobyl zone upon the liquidators

       Non-radiation impact of Chernobyl can be described (and, hence, studied and mitigated) within different frameworks. Below I will list those that will be used in this study.
       1. The notion of Chernobyl is associated with the effects of different harmful factors upon people. It seems logical to begin with the most general, non-specific to the affecting harmful factor, regularities of the organism's response to their action, embraced by Selye's notions of “stress”, “distress”, and “the general adaptation syndrome” (Selye 1992, 1983).
       2. Chernobyl was a very unusual place, a definitely extreme environment (with respect to its radiation parameters, to begin with), and its impact may be justifiably studied within the framework of non-specific impact of extreme and unusual environments.
       3. The liquidators worked in the Chernobyl zone — and, hence, occupational health approach is definitely relevant for the description of the overall impact of Chernobyl upon their health in general. In particular, occupational stress framework will be used to describe its non-radiation and not-direct-physical-injury impact of the work in the zone upon their health (both mental and physical).
       4. The Chernobyl experience of the liquidators, for it exceeds or was too close to the limits of the normal “range of tolerance”, limits of harmless adaptation, was a trauma (physical and/or psychological). Therefore, as a psychological trauma and its consequences, the impact can be looked at within the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) framework.

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Design by: M.Opalev
Studio ARWIS  Kharkov, 2001