Effect of 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA on suicide in areas surrounding the crash sites

Clinical Research Core, VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, and Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, New York, USA.
The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science (Impact Factor: 7.99). 05/2010; 196(5):359-64. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.071928
Source: PubMed


The terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001 affected suicide rates in two European countries, whereas overall US rates remained stable. The effect on attack site rates, however, has not been studied.
To examine post-attack suicide rates in areas surrounding the three airline crash sites.
Daily mortality rates were modelled using time series techniques. Where rate change was significant, both duration and geographic scope were analysed.
Around the World Trade Center, post-attack 180-day rates dropped significantly (t = 2.4, P = 0.0046), whereas comparison condition rates remained stable. No change was observed for Pentagon or Flight 93 crash sites.
The differential effect by site suggests that proximity may be less important that other event characteristics. Both temporal and geographic aspects of rate fluctuation after sentinel events appear measurable and further analyses may contribute valuable knowledge about how sociological forces affect these rates.

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Available from: Gregory Luke Larkin, Aug 28, 2015
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    • "Social scientists have studied its impact on American attitudes towards their government (Kimberly, Brewer, & Aday, 2009), legal system (Morgan, 2009), and social structures (Gross, Aday, & Brewer, 2004). Numerous scholars have examined how Americans experienced this collective trauma (Updegraff, Silver, & Holman, 2008), with some research indicating that some residents living around crash sites were at risk of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) (DiGrande et al., 2008; Wilson, Lengua, Meltzoff, & Smith, 2010) and suicide (Claassen et al., 2010). Research has also shown that the nation's sense of social trust may also have been impaired (Gross et al., 2004). "
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