World trade center exposure and posttraumatic growth: Assessing positive psychological change 15 years after 9/11

Cristina D. Pollari, Jennifer Brite, Robert M. Brackbill, Lisa M. Gargano, Shane W. Adams, Pninit Russo-Netzer, Jonathan Davidov, Victoria Banyard, James E. Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We evaluated the presence of posttraumatic growth (PTG) among survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attack and how indicators of psychosocial well-being, direct 9/11-related exposure, and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) relate to PTG. PTG was examined among 4934 participants using the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI). A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to determine if the original factor structure of the PTGI fits our data and principal component analysis (PCA) to identify the appropriate factor structure. Multivariable linear regression models were used to examine the association between PTG and indicators of psychosocial well-being, 9/11-related exposure, and PTSS, controlling for covariates. CFA identified a two-factor structure of the PTGI as a better fit than the original five-factor model. Participants who experienced very high 9/11-related exposure level (ß = 7.72; 95% CI: 5.75–9.70), higher PTSS at waves 1 (ß = 0.13; 95% CI: 0.08-0.18) and 2 (ß = 0.09; 95% CI: 0.05–0.14), high social integration (ß = 5.71; 95% CI: 4.47, 6.96), greater social support (ß = 0.49; 95% CI: 0.37, 0.61), and higher self-efficacy(ß = 1.26; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.48) had higher PTGI scores. Our findings suggest PTG is present, 15 years following the 9/11 terrorist attack. Very high-level 9/11 exposure, PTSS, and indicators of psychosocial well-being were associated with PTG.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Numbers 2U50/OH009739 and 5U50/OH009739 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); U50/ATU272750 from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), CDC, which included support from the National Center for Environmental Health, CDC, and by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH, CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services. We thank Odeliya Harel, LCSW for encouraging us to explore posttraumatic growth among our 9/11 cohort and connecting us to researchers in Israel.

Funding Information:
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: 2U50/OH009739; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: 5U50/OH009739; Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: U50/ATU272750 This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Numbers 2U50/OH009739 and 5U50/OH009739 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); U50/ATU272750 from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), CDC, which included support from the National Center for Environmental Health, CDC, and by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH, CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services. We thank Odeliya Harel, LCSW for encouraging us to explore posttraumatic growth among our 9/11 cohort and connecting us to researchers in Israel.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • 9/11
  • Disaster
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Well-being
  • World Trade Center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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