Disability and posttraumatic stress disorder in disaster relief workers responding to september 11, 2001 World Trade Center Disaster

Department of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10065, USA.
Journal of Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.12). 07/2009; 65(7):684-94. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20575
Source: PubMed


Empirical evidence suggests that social and occupational disability plays a significant role in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The purpose of this study was to assess the role of social/occupational disability and to identify predictors of the development of PTSD in a group of disaster relief workers (DRWs) who had been deployed to the World Trade Center (WTC) following September 11, 2001. Eight hundred forty-two utility workers completed a battery of comprehensive tests measuring PTSD and social occupational functioning. Results indicated a significant association between PTSD symptoms and impaired social/occupational functioning. Symptomatic workers were also more likely to have a history of trauma, panic disorder, and depression. Those with a history of trauma, depression, generalized anxiety disorder or panic reported significantly more disability than those without a psychiatric history. Careful screening of PTSD and social/occupational functioning in DRWs following a disaster is warranted so that early treatment can be undertaken to prevent a chronic and disabling course.

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