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Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000195307.28743.b2
Brief Reports

Perceived Safety in Disaster Workers Following 9/11

Fullerton, Carol S. PhD; Ursano, Robert J. MD; Reeves, Jamie MD; Shigemura, Jun MD; Grieger, Tom MD

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The perception of being safe, perceived safety, is an important component of health and the ability to work after exposure to traumatic events of all kinds. The relationship of perceived safety to posttraumatic stress disorder and depression has rarely been examined. This study examined symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and perceived safety in disaster workers 2 weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Perceived safety was lower in those with greater exposure (e.g., those who felt they were in physical danger, worked with dead bodies, or witnessed someone being killed or seriously injured). Lower perceived safety was associated with greater symptoms of intrusion and hyperarousal but not avoidance. Safety was negatively correlated with depression and peritraumatic dissociation. Lowered perceptions of safety following terrorist events have implications for social and work-related behaviors that can affect long-term health, morale, and productivity in disaster workers and other first responders.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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