The Psychological and Welfare Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster


Seeking to go beyond the well-documented health risks of radiation exposure, USC Institute for Global Health Director Jonathan Samet set out to research the overlooked psychological stress that impacted residents living near Chernobyl in Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.

Dr. Samet and research associate Sonny Patel authored the first report, “The Psychological and Welfare Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster: A Systematic Literature Review , Focus Group Findings, and Future Directions” in 2011. The document revealed evidence of significant neuropsychological consequences ranging from diminished quality of life and anxiety to depression and specific clinical syndromes, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

They published their second report, “Selected Health Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster,” on Chernobyl’s long-term health consequences on April 26, 2013, the event’s 27th anniversary. Their research, supported by the nonprofit Green Cross Switzerland, revealed that, to this day, up to 10 million people may be affected by the catastrophe and its aftermath.

On the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in 2016, Dr. Samet and project specialist Joann Seo published the third publication, “The Financial Costs of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Disaster: A Review of the Literature.”