Post-traumatic stress symptoms in the general population after a disaster: Implications for public health

Sandro Galea, Jennifer Ahern, Heidi Resnick, David Vlahov

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    Introduction: Post-traumatic stress after disasters and after September 11, 2001 Major disasters are associated with increased rates of psychological distress and morbidity among survivors (Norris et al., 2002a, b; Galea et al., 2005). The vast majority of post-disaster research has focused on the groups that are typically considered to be most affected by disasters and a substantial literature has documented the burden of psychopathology faced by survivors of disasters (North et al., 1999; Salcioglu et al., 2003) persons who are involved in the post-disaster recovery efforts (North et al., 2002), and family and friends of persons who are killed or seriously injured in disasters (Stoppelbein and Greening, 2000). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most commonly studied, and likely the most prevalent mental health problem in these groups after disasters (Green and Lindy, 1994; Galea et al., 2005), although other mental health problems including depression (Kuo et al., 2003), generalized anxiety disorder (Smith et al., 1990), and non-specific psychological stress (Carr et al., 1997) have been studied. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks there was every reason to believe that the impact of the attacks among the survivors of the attacks would be comparable to that among survivors of other major disasters. For example, in the aftermath of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, North and colleagues reported that 34.3% of adult survivors of the bombing who were either in the building at the time of the bombing or in close proximity had symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD in the first 6 months after the bombing (North et al., 1999). Official estimates of the number of persons who were survivors of the September 11 attacks vary.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publication9/11
    Subtitle of host publicationMental Health in the Wake of Terrorist Attacks
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Pages19-44
    Number of pages26
    ISBN (Electronic)9780511544132
    ISBN (Print)0521831911, 9780521831918
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Galea, S., Ahern, J., Resnick, H., & Vlahov, D. (2006). Post-traumatic stress symptoms in the general population after a disaster: Implications for public health. In 9/11: Mental Health in the Wake of Terrorist Attacks (pp. 19-44). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511544132.005