PTSD reactions and coping responses of East Coast and West Coast American Airlines flight attendants after September 11: a possible psychological contagion effect?
ABSTRACT Psychological reactions and functional coping of East Coast and West Coast-based flight attendants were compared after the attacks on September 11. Demographics and standardized questionnaires were sent in June 2002 to approximately 26,000 flight attendants. The 2,050 returned surveys were separated into East Coast-based flight crews (513 from Boston, New York, and Washington, DC) and West Coast-based flight crews (353 from Los Angeles and San Francisco). Despite demographic differences between the flight crews, most notably that the East Coast members were more than twice as likely to know someone who perished in the wake of September 11, there was no difference between them regarding probable PTSD (19.1% and 18.3%, respectively) or life functioning. We suggest that a psychological contagion effect occurred in this at-risk group of workers in the war on terrorism. Public health implications, including multicomponent treatment interventions, are suggested.