Journal Article

Trends of Probable Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in New York City after the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

Sandro Galea, David Vlahov, Heidi Resnick, Jennifer Ahern, Ezra Susser, Joel Gold, Michael Bucuvalas and Dean Kilpatrick

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 158, issue 6, pages 514-524
Published in print September 2003 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online September 2003 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwg187
Trends of Probable Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in New York City after the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

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The authors investigated trends in probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevalence in the general population of New York City in the first 6 months after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Three random digit dialing telephone surveys of adults in progressively larger portions of the New York City metropolitan area were conducted 1 month, 4 months, and 6 months after September 11, 2001. A total of 1,008, 2,001, and 2,752 demographically representative adults were recruited in the three surveys, respectively. The current prevalence of probable PTSD related to the September 11 attacks in Manhattan declined from 7.5% (95% confidence interval: 5.7, 9.3) 1 month after September 11 to 0.6% (95% confidence interval: 0.3, 0.9) 6 months after September 11. Although the prevalence of PTSD symptoms was consistently higher among persons who were more directly affected by the attacks, a substantial number of persons who were not directly affected by the attacks also met criteria for probable PTSD. These data suggest a rapid resolution of most of the probable PTSD symptoms in the general population of New York City in the first 6 months after the attacks. The psychological consequences of a large-scale disaster in a densely populated urban area may extend beyond persons directly affected by the disaster to persons in the general population.

Keywords: disasters; disease progression; stress disorders, post-traumatic; terrorism; Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder; SCID, Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM IIIR.

Journal Article.  6993 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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