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Social and Psychological Resources and Health Outcomes after the World Trade Center Disaster

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Adams, R.E., J.A. Boscarino, and Sandro Galea. 2006. "Social and Psychological Resources and Health Outcomes after the World Trade Center Disaster." Social Science and Medicine, 62(1): 176-188.

Previous studies on community disasters tend to assess non-representative samples and use nonstandard measures of well-being. Additionally, few of these studies are longitudinal in design. In this report, we examine the consequences of the World Trade Center Disaster (WTCD) within a stress model perspective to assess level of exposure to the disaster and well-being after this event, as measured by the SF12 mental health and physical health scales, Data come from a two-wave panel study of 1681 English or Spanish speaking adults living in New York City on the day of the terrorist attacks and were collected by telephone interviews 1 and 2 years after the disaster. In ordinary least-squares regression models that contained demographic characteristics, stress risk factors, and social psychological resources as independent variables, level of exposure to the disaster was associated with poorer Wave 2 physical well-being, but not psychological health. Level of disaster exposure was not related to Wave 2 physical health, however, once the Wave 1 level of physical health was controlled, suggesting that disaster exposure did not have a lasting impact on variation in physical well-being. Results also indicated that experiencing a panic attack, negative life events, or traumatic events were related to poorer physical health. Respondents who met screening criteria for possible alcohol dependence post-disaster, experienced negative life events, or experienced traumatic events, were more likely to suffer from poorer mental health compared to those who did not meet the criteria, experience negative life events or experience traumas. We discuss these findings relative to community disasters in industrialized and developing countries.

DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.05.008. (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC1479769. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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