State Research Center - Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical Center of Federal Medical Biological Agency (SRC - FMBC), Moscow, Russia, email@example.com
Research Support Scheme of the Central European University (grant no. 1005\94)
Operators at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) were assessed by research group of the Institute of Biophisics in 1986-1987 after the nuclear disaster. The results of retrospective comparative analysis of personality characteristics of two Chernobyl NNP operators' groups are represented in the report. The first group (n=74) included those operators who have worked at the NPP at least up to January 1995. The second group (n=29) consisted of the operators who stopped working there shortly after the psychological testing. The MMPI and 16PF findings demonstrated that psychological status of the first group was close to optimal whereas the second one was characterized by clearly detectable stress effects.
The personality characteristics comparison of Group 2 and Group 1 operators demonstrated significant differences on MMPI scales: 2 (Depression), 3 (Hysteria), 4 (Psychopathic Deviate), 6 (Paranoia), 7 (Psychasthenia), and 8 (Schizophrenia). Mean scores on all the above-cited scales were higher in Group 2.
Additional significant differences between the groups were obtained on two 16PF factors: individuals of Group 2 showed lower mean scores on Factor C (Emotional Stability) and Factor F (Liveliness).
There was high total percentage of individuals with abnormal peaks on clinical MMPI scales (value elevated more than 70 T-scores) in Group 2 – 41,4%, much more than in Group 1 - 12,2%. The relatively highest percentages were obtained on Scale 2 (Depression) - 31.0%, and Scale 1 (Hipochondriasis) - 17.2%.
The obtained results showed that the group of operators who left Chernobyl NPP shortly after the psychological testing (Group 2) coped worse with the intensive and numerous stressors, difficulties and potential threats of post-accident period in comparison with Group 1 operators. Their psychological status was marked mainly significant emphasis of depressive and anxious-phobic traits. Typical for Group 2 members state of tiredness, relatively low levels of activity and initiative, intrusive thoughts and fears, feeling of helplessness contradicted requirements of the post-accident difficult and dangerous conditions and was an important expulsive factor, which influenced their decision to stop working at the NPP. The results of the study can be used to forecast migration behavior of the people working in harmful and hazardous industrial areas.