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Am J Public Health. 1981 May; 71(5): 472–483.
PMCID: PMC1619731

The impact of the accident at the Three Mile Island on the behavior and well-being of nuclear workers; Part I: perceptions and evaluations, behavioral responses, and work-related attitudes and feelings.


In order to assess the impact of the accident at the Three Mile Island (TMI), telephone interviews were conducted six months later with 324 nuclear workers assigned to TMI and 298 workers assigned to a comparison plant at Peach Bottom (PB). Examination of PB-TMI differences, stratified by supervisory status, revealed the following: Part I: TMI workers reported greater exposure to radiation at the time of the accident and felt that their health had been thereby endangered. TMI workers experienced more uncertainty and conflict at the time of the accident. Coping responses such as seeing a doctor, taking drugs, and increasing alcohol consumption were quite infrequent. Leaving the area was more common; however, over 40 per cent of TMI workers wished to leave but did not do so because of work obligations. TMI workers reported much lower job satisfaction and much greater uncertainty about their job future.

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