Adolescence Outside the Restricted Zone: A Narrative Study of Nuclear Disaster Response Trajectories intertwining with Life (TiL)

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Responses to trauma can involve complex meaning-making processes and the perception of ambiguous threats. This study sought to explore response trajectories to a nuclear disaster and their intertwining courses with ecological factors (Trajectories intertwining with Life—TiL) from adolescence onward among a non-evacuated population. Four women and four men (mean age 20) who were adolescents during the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima (mean age 14), and who grew up outside the restricted zone participated in the study. Semi-structured life story interviews were conducted in the form of in-depth qualitative inquiries. A holistic analysis was employed to identify the TiL patterns following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in the overall context of the stories and to reveal important themes throughout adolescence. Four TiL patterns were found: three trajectories corresponding with those identified in prior research and one newly identified trajectory. The perceived, distal, and continuous threat of radiation played a central role in all patterns and exerted secondary impacts throughout the lives of non-evacuated adolescents. The study’s implications shed light on rarely studied response trajectories to ambiguous Potentially Traumatic Events (PTEs) throughout adolescence and point out the benefits of using a life story approach to this end for the first time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The study was supported by “The Asian Sphere,” a joint excellence program between the University of Haifa and the Hebrew University funded by the Humanities Fund of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel (VATAT) and Yad Hanadiv.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • adolescence
  • ecological-developmental perspective
  • life story
  • non-evacuees
  • nuclear disaster
  • Potentially Traumatic Event
  • Trajectories intertwining with Life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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