Posttraumatic stress disorder and terrorism: 5 Years after 9/11

Jonathan Laugharne, Aleksandar Janca, Thomas Widiger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article aims to review and summarize the recent literature investigating the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and terrorism. A particular focus is given to the studies related to the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC on 11 September 2001. The review aims to provide an update on an article published in this journal in the year following the September 11 attacks. RECENT FINDINGS: Elevated rates of posttraumatic stress disorder in the general population follow terrorist attacks but soon normalize, whereas directly exposed populations have higher rates and more persistent symptoms. An increased risk of posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with direct exposure, geographical proximity, female sex, low income, poor education, poor social supports and prior psychotropic drug use, and high-level media reporting of events (for vulnerable individuals). SUMMARY: An accumulating body of data exists on the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and terrorism in recent years. Caution needs to be exercised in drawing general conclusions as numerous variables need to be taken into account in addition to the socio-political context of the terrorist attacks. Having said this, a number of consistent findings are emphasized, not least the high degree of psychological resilience demonstrated across populations affected by terrorism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-41
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Psychological resilience
  • September 11
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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