The business of healing: focus group discussions of readjustment to the post-9/11 work environment among employees of affected agencies

J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Jul;52(7):713-8. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181e48b01.


Objective: Understanding postdisaster workplace adjustment may help guide interventions for postdisaster emotional functioning and recovery.

Methods: One to two years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 12 focus groups were conducted with 85 employees of companies directly affected by the 9/11 attacks on New York City, to discuss mental health issues surrounding return to the workplace after the disaster.

Results: Risk communication, tension between workplace productivity and employees' emotional needs, and postdisaster work space were topics discussed in the focus groups. Employees identified many effective responses by their companies after 9/11 relating to these areas of concern as well as gaps in response.

Conclusions: Recommended risk communication procedures were applied but not systematically. Little direction was available for balancing workplace productivity and employees' emotional needs or for strategic management of postdisaster workspace, suggesting areas for future disaster workplace research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Commerce
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / rehabilitation*
  • Workplace / psychology*