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Psychological Resilience after Disaster - New York City in the Aftermath of the September 11th Terrorist Attack

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Bonanno, G.A., Sandro Galea, A. Bucciarelli, and D. Vlahov. 2006. "Psychological Resilience after Disaster - New York City in the Aftermath of the September 11th Terrorist Attack." Psychological Science, 17(3): 181-186.

Research on adult reactions to potentially traumatic events has focused almost exclusively on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although there has been relatively little research on the absence of trauma symptoms, the available evidence suggests that resilience following such events may be more prevalent than previously believed. This study examined the prevalence of resilience, defined as having either no PTSD symptoms or one symptom, among a large (n = 2,752) probability sample of New York area residents during the 6 months following the September 11th terrorist attack. Although many respondents met criteria for PTSD, particularly when exposure was high, resilience was observed in 65.1% of the sample. Resilience was less prevalent among more highly exposed individuals, but the frequency of resilience never fell below one third even among the exposure groups with the most dramatic elevations in PTSD.

Country of focus: United States of America.

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