Ninety Percent of Americans Report Experiencing Stress Over Sept. 11 Attacks
Ninety percent of Americans experienced clinical stress and 44% had at least one sign of "substantial stress" during the weekend after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to a new survey, the Washington Post reports. Appearing in today's New England Journal of Medicine, the survey is the "first of its kind" to confirm anecdotal evidence of stress after the Sept. 11 attacks. The survey, based on 560 respondents and conducted on Sept. 15 and Sept. 16, shows that stress results when people feel helpless, the Post reports (Vedantam, Washington Post, 11/15). The poll found that 44% of adults had two or more symptoms of stress, such as sleeping difficulties or feeling irritable or angry. Although people living near New York had the highest rates of substantial stress, Americans around the country also reported stress (Hellmich, USA Today, 11/15). "Especially hard-hit" by the Sept. 11 attacks were minorities, women and those with pre-existing mental health conditions -- groups traditionally vulnerable to stress (Washington Post, 11/15). The survey also found that 35% of respondents said their children showed signs of stress, such as having nightmares. In addition, 47% said their children were concerned for their own safety or that of a loved one. Children were more likely to experience stress if their parents had substantial amounts of stress, USA Today reports (USA Today, 11/15). Mark Schuster, a Rand Corp. researcher, UCLA pediatrician and the study's lead author, said, "It's important for people to know that they're not the only ones, that this is occurring all over the country and that there are a lot of people experiencing this" (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 11/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.