Peritraumatic reactions associated with the World Trade Center disaster

Daphne Simeon, Jennifer Greenberg, Margaret Knutelska, James Schmeidler, Eric Hollander

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objective: The World Trade Center disaster was of unprecedented magnitude and impact in U.S. history. The authors conducted a pilot survey investigating these effects. Method: A questionnaire regarding the disaster was sent to responders to an advertisement. It included demographic and disaster-exposure questions and three scales applied to "during and shortly after" the disaster. Results: Despite widely ranging exposure, scores for distress (Peritraumatic Distress Inventory), dissociation (Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire), and posttraumatic stress (Impact of Event Scale - Revised) were markedly elevated (N=75). After covariance for exposure, the distress factor of loss of control most strongly predicted both early dissociation and posttraumatic stress. Life threat specifically contributed to arousal. Dissociation did not contribute beyond distress to posttraumatic stress, with the exception of re-experiencing. Conclusions: This survey of reactions to the World Trade Center disaster revealed high levels of early symptoms and suggested similar but independent pathways toward dissociation and posttraumatic stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1702-1705
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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