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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2002 Dec;190(12):833-8.

Psychiatric patients' vulnerability in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, USA.


The September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks led to speculation about the vulnerability of psychiatric patients to psychological distress following such events. This study examined the impact of national terrorist attacks on psychiatric and medical outpatients living approximately 150 to 200 miles from the attack sites (N = 308). Two to 3 weeks following 9/11, patients were given questionnaires assessing background information, healthcare service utilization, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Psychiatric patients (33%) were significantly more likely than medical patients (13%) to report distressing symptoms meeting criteria for PTSD (except for the duration criterion) despite no differences in learning about the attacks or personal involvement with the victims. Patients meeting PTSD criteria were more likely to schedule an appointment to speak with their physician about their reactions. Psychiatric patients not directly impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks are at increased risk for experiencing distressing symptoms following national terrorist attacks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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