Psychosocial considerations about children and radiological events

L Lemyre, W Corneil, C Johnson and P. Boutette

Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 2010, 142(1), 70-76. DOI: 10.1093/rpd/ncq197

Abstract

Children are identified as a vulnerable population in the case of radiological events because of their increased physical sensitivity to radiation and its impact on critical development stages. Using a comprehensive integrated risk framework, psychosocial risk protective factors are discussed in a social ecology paradigm. Children have been shown to be both vulnerable and resilient; they are both easily impressionable and also quick to adapt and learn. Psychosocial interventions during, after and most efficiently before an event can improve outcome, especially if they involve parents and schools, media and work organisations. Public education through children should be encouraged to increase knowledge of radiation and strategies to minimise exposure and irradiation. Children can become vectors of prevention, preparedness and mitigation through information and behavioural rehearsal. Special consideration must therefore be given to education, school programmes, practice rehearsal and media exposure.

ASCI-ID: 1126-329