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More than 3,000 survivors of the WTC attacks experience long-term post-traumatic stress disorder
Date:1/7/2011

s greater among survivors who experienced serious life threat as defined by location in the towers, time of evacuation initiation, or dust cloud exposures," said Dr. Laura DiGrande, DrPH, MPH, Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health doctoral degree recipient for this research and first author of the study. "As one would expect, individuals who were exposed to several of the most troubling and life threatening events during the disaster were at the greatest risk of PTSD." Only 145 or four percent of survivors had no symptoms of PTSD.

"As the long-term effects of the WTC disaster emerge the results from this study suggest that some survivors of the WTC disaster will continue to report psychological symptoms years after their exposure to the events of 9/11. The implication of this finding is that the impact of terrorism on survivors, particularly those in low socioeconomic positions, could be substantial, as PTSD is known to be co-morbid with other disorders and harmful behaviors that affect daily functioning, wellness, and relationships," noted Dr. Sandro Galea, MD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health and study senior author.

"As disaster literature moves toward understanding long-term risks in the general population, this study reminds us that the relation between direct exposures and PTSD is clear and suggests potential avenues for planning policy to reduce the burden of terrorism-related psychopathology," noted Dr. Robert Brackbill, PhD, MPH, the Registry's founding principal investigator and study coauthor.

As the 10-year anniversary of the World Trade Center disaster approaches, Columbia researchers and the WTC Health Registry are continuing to ascertain even longer term implications.


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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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