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Psychological Effects of 9.11 Persist

flagResearch scientists find that long after Sept. 11, 2001, Americans’ terrorism-related thoughts and fears are associated with increased depression, anxiety, hostility, posttraumatic stress and drinking.

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers examined the extent to which the strength of people’s post–Sept. 11 beliefs and fears, as assessed in 2003, predicted a range of psychological distress and alcohol abuse in 2005.

Data were derived from a mail survey, which began before Sept. 11 and continued in 2005.

The study, led by Judith Richman, professor of epidemiology in psychiatry, is published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Public Health Association.

Richman and her colleagues measured the effect of larger, macro-level sociological stressors — rather than personal or micro-level events, such as a death in the family or financial difficulties — on mental health.

The terrorist events of Sept. 11 signaled a significant change in the socio-political outlook of many Americans and in their feelings of safety and well-being.

Richman and others have shown that the events of Sept. 11 have been associated with feelings of distress and anxiety, and these feelings have led to problematic drinking. However, previous research focused on distress at the time of the traumatic event, and predictions about future negative behaviors were hard to assess.

In the new study, 30 percent of participants reported feeling very or extremely more pessimistic about world peace, and 27.6 percent reported they had less faith in the government’s ability to protect them.

“Our research showed that, four years after 9/11, terrorism fears and beliefs predicted distress and escape motives for drinking similarly in both men and women, with only men showing an increase in deleterious drinking levels,” Richman said. She also indicated that macro socio-political events such as acts of terrorism and large-scale disasters and their effects on distress levels should be considered in future research.

Source: University of Illinois at Chicago

Psychological Effects of 9.11 Persist

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Psychological Effects of 9.11 Persist. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/02/13/psychological-effects-of-911-persist/1910.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.