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Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181c29a39
Original Article

Terrorism, Distress, and Drinking: Vulnerability and Protective Factors

Richman, Judith A. PhD; Rospenda, Kathleen M. PhD; Cloninger, Lea PhD

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Research has demonstrated effects of 9/11 on distress and drinking outcomes in individuals directly affected and indirectly affected across the United States. Fewer studies have addressed vulnerability and protective factors shown to moderate the effects of stress exposure. We report findings from a Midwestern workplace cohort study. Respondents to a 6 wave longitudinal mail survey completed questionnaires prior to September 11, 2001 and again in 2003 and 2005. Regression analyses encompassed measures of terrorism-related beliefs and fears, workplace stressors (sexual harassment, generalized abuse and low decision latitude), marital and parental status, and perceived social support in 2003, and distress and deleterious drinking outcomes in 2005. Analyses showed that terrorism-related fears significantly interacted with workplace stressors and interpersonal social relationships in predicting distress, drinking or both, controlling for pre-9/11 distress and drinking. Gender differences were also found. This article suggests that certain individuals may be at heightened risk for distressful reactions to and/or deleterious drinking resulting from terrorism-related issues and fears due to additional risk factors involving workplace stressors and inadequate interpersonal bonds. However, limitations of the study were noted and future research was recommended.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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