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Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2002 Dec;23(8):771-82.

Terrorism, posttraumatic stress, and religious coping.

Author information

  • MGH Institute of Health Professions at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA. jmeisenhelder@mghihp.edu


The events of September 11, 2001 triggered a widespread national response that was two-fold: a posttraumatic stress reaction and an increase in attendance in religious services and practices immediately following the tragic events. The following discussion traces the existing research to distinguish this posttraumatic stress reaction from posttraumatic stress disorder as a recognized psychiatric diagnosis. This disaster reaction is then examined in light of the research on religious coping, delineating both its positive and negative aspects and the respective outcomes. A conceptual model illustrates the benefits in seeking religious comfort for managing a postdisaster stress response. Nursing implications for practice are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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