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PTSD Among NYC Residents

A new report suggests the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, had lasting psychological consequences, especially for many residents of Lower Manhattan.

The findings, by the Health Department’s World Trade Center Health Registry, show that one in eight Lower Manhattan residents likely had posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) two to three years after the attacks.

The findings show that Lower Manhattan residents developed PTSD at three times the usual rate in the years following 9/11. The rate among residents (12.6%) matched the rate previously reported among rescue and recovery workers (12.4%).

Residents who were injured during the attacks were the most likely to develop PTSD. The new study, published online this week in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, is available online at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/109882595/home.

The new study – based on surveys of 11,000 residents through the World Trade Center Health Registry – is the first to measure the attack’s long-term effect on the mental health of community members. Aside from injured residents – 38% of whom developed symptoms of PTSD – the most affected groups were those who witnessed violent deaths and those caught in the dust cloud after the towers collapsed.

Roughly 17% suffered PTSD in each of those groups. The symptoms most commonly reported were hyper-vigilance, nightmares and emotional reactions to reminders of 9/11.

Divorced residents reported symptoms at twice the rate of those who were married – possibly because they received less emotional support. Women were affected at a higher rate than men (15% versus 10%), a disparity documented in other disasters.

And black and Hispanic residents reported more symptoms than whites. Low levels of education and income also increased people’s risk of PTSD.

Lower Manhattan Residents with PTSD in 2003-2004

All: 12.6%
Men: 10.1%
Women: 14.6%
White: 10.7%
African American: 20.6%
Hispanic: 24.7%
Asian: 8.9%
Earn $50,000 to $74,999: 11.3%
Earn less than $25,000: 19.8%
Less than high school diploma: 18.3%
College graduate: 11.1%
Married: 9.5%
Divorced: 21.5%

“These findings confirm that the experience of 9/11 had lasting consequences for many of those affected by it,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner.

“Any New Yorker who is still struggling with fear, anxiety, depression or substance use should seek treatment. Please call 311 if you need help finding treatment, or paying for it. Help is available.”

Source: New York City Health Department

PTSD Among NYC Residents

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). PTSD Among NYC Residents. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/06/16/ptsd-among-nyc-residents/2465.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.