Thirty-one percent said they had family or friends near lower Manhattan or the Pentagon 10 years ago, the targeted sites of the plane attacks, while 4 percent were actually in one of those two locations.
Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., said, "It's very normal, very natural for people to have these reactions and lingering effects."
But it's not clear what the future holds for those still suffering, she added. Hopefully, she said, the numbers will diminish with time, but current problems like the ailing economy and the destruction from Hurricane Irene may impede the healing process.
Ultimately, though, the 9/11 attacks were fundamentally different from calamities such as natural disasters, Hilfer said.
"What still lingers -- and what the legacy of Sept. 11 was -- is that we are vulnerable to terrorist attacks and they are completely out of our control," he said. "They are as a result of people who we consider to be maniacal. [Hurricane] Katrina was an act of nature and it's a different kind of anticipatory anxiety. We know we can get hit by a hurricane again. But it doesn't have the same kind of impact as being impacted by other human beings."
Regina A. Corso, senior vice president of the Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, added: "Even though it has been 10 years, the impact of 9/11 is something that was not constrained to just that one day or even to a few weeks after the attacks. Not only did more than two in five Americans experience effects such as worry or anxiety after the event, almost half of those people say they are still experiencing effects a decade later.
"But, what is nice to see," she added, "is that not all effects are negative. Almost half of Americans say they, as a result of 9/11, are trying to appreciate life more, and one-third are trying to spend more time with family, loved ones or f
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