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Keywords:

  • exposure status;
  • mental health;
  • Prestige;
  • quality of life

This study analyses the impact of the Prestige oil spill on the mental health and the perception of physical health and functional capacity in the affected population. The sample comprised 926 residents from the section of the Spanish coast affected by the oil spill. The data was collected slightly more than one year after the accident. Scales referring to clinical symptoms (SCL-36) and health-related quality of life (SF-36) were administered. The results suggest that individuals with higher degrees of exposure or residing in areas closest to the spill show lower levels of mental health in comparison to those with lower levels of exposure or living in areas farther away from the spill. This study also finds that women and fishermen tend to suffer more from the consequences of these types of disaster.