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Alcohol Use, Mental Health Status and Psychological Well-Being 2 Years After the World Trade Center Attacks in New York City

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Adams, R.E., J.A. Boscarino, and Sandro Galea. 2006. "Alcohol Use, Mental Health Status and Psychological Well-Being 2 Years After the World Trade Center Attacks in New York City." American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 32(2): 203-224.

Over the past 30 years, studies have shown that survivors of community-wide disasters suffer from a variety of physical and mental health problems. Researchers also have documented increased substance use in the aftermath of these disasters. In the present study, we examined the relationship between alcohol use and mental health status within the context of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City (NYC). The data for the present report come from a 2-wave panel study of adults living in NYC on the day of the attacks. Wave 1 (W1) and Wave 2 (W2) interviews occurred one year and two years after the attacks, respectively. Overall, 2,368 individuals completed the W1 survey ( cooperation rate, 63%) and 1,681 completed the W2 survey (re-interview rate, 71%). The alcohol use variables examined were binge drinking, alcohol dependence, increased days drinking, and increased drinks per day. The outcomes examined included measures of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, BSI-18-Global Severity and measures of SF12-mental and physical health status. After controlling for demographic, stress, and resource factors, multivariate logistic regressions indicated that all alcohol measures were related to one or more of these outcomes. In particular, binge drinking was related to partial PTSD, while alcohol dependence was associated subsyndromal PTSD, severity of PTSD, depression, BSI-18 global severity, and SF-12 poor mental health status. Increased post-disaster drinking was positively associated with subsyndromal PTSD and negatively associated with SF-12 physical health. We discuss reasons for these results and the negative consequences that heavy alcohol use may have on the postdisaster recovery process.

DOI:10.1080/00952990500479522 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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