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Mil Med. 2002 Sep;167(9 Suppl):60-3.

Development of a brief questionnaire to measure mental health outcomes among Pentagon employees following the September 11, 2001 attack.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307, USA.


In the aftermath of the terrorist action at the Pentagon there was a critical operational need to understand and document the extent of injuries, illnesses, and exposures sustained by Service members and civilian employees at the Pentagon. It was decided to develop and administer a brief questionnaire to the Pentagon employees that would contain questions about exposures, new or worsening injuries or illnesses, mental health, and factors suggested by the literature to increase risk or be protective for these outcomes. This report describes the development the mental health portion of this questionnaire. Most mental health instruments are very lengthy, limiting their usefulness as rapid public health assessment tools. This brief instrument was designed to cover four main symptom domains, as well as key risk/protective factors, thought to be most important following the terrorist attack. The symptom domains were: acute and post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, anxiety/panic attacks, and alcohol abuse. Further analyses will assess the usefulness of this questionnaire as a public health tool for rapid assessment of mental health symptoms following the attack.

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