Determinants of counseling for children in Manhattan after the September 11 attacks

Jennifer Stuber, Gerry Fairbrother, Sandro Galea, Betty Pfefferbaum, Maureen Wilson-Genderson, David Vlahov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    94 Scopus citations


    Objective: After the September 11 terrorist attacks, many adults and children received counseling. The authors assessed the prevalence and correlates of counseling for experiences related to the disaster received by children aged four to 18 years living in Manhattan. Methods: From a representative sample of 1,008 adult residents of Manhattan who were living below 110th Street five to eight weeks after the attacks, the authors interviewed 112 parents or primary caretakers about their child's level of exposure to the disaster, the extent of loss, receipt of counseling services, and behavioral reaction. Results: Overall, 22 percent of the children had received some form of counseling related to their experiences after the disaster. More than half of the counseling received (58 percent) was delivered in schools. Predictors of counseling in a multivariate model were male sex (odds ratio=5.3), having a parent with current posttraumatic stress disorder related to the attacks (OR=4.3), and having at least one sibling living in the household (OR=3.6). Conclusions: Parents' own level of posttraumatic stress was associated with whether their children received counseling related to the September 11 attacks. This finding has important implications, because parents act as decision makers for their children in seeking health care. After the terrorist attacks, school and health care personnel provided early intervention counseling in Manhattan.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)815-822
    Number of pages8
    JournalPsychiatric Services
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - 2002

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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