Trends of probable post-traumatic stress disorder in New York City after the September 11 terrorist attacks

Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Sep 15;158(6):514-24. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwg187.


The authors investigated trends in probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevalence in the general population of New York City in the first 6 months after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Three random digit dialing telephone surveys of adults in progressively larger portions of the New York City metropolitan area were conducted 1 month, 4 months, and 6 months after September 11, 2001. A total of 1,008, 2,001, and 2,752 demographically representative adults were recruited in the three surveys, respectively. The current prevalence of probable PTSD related to the September 11 attacks in Manhattan declined from 7.5% (95% confidence interval: 5.7, 9.3) 1 month after September 11 to 0.6% (95% confidence interval: 0.3, 0.9) 6 months after September 11. Although the prevalence of PTSD symptoms was consistently higher among persons who were more directly affected by the attacks, a substantial number of persons who were not directly affected by the attacks also met criteria for probable PTSD. These data suggest a rapid resolution of most of the probable PTSD symptoms in the general population of New York City in the first 6 months after the attacks. The psychological consequences of a large-scale disaster in a densely populated urban area may extend beyond persons directly affected by the disaster to persons in the general population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terrorism / psychology*
  • Urban Population