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Stories behind the symptoms: a qualitative analysis of the narratives of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers.
Bills CB; Dodson N; Stellman JM; Southwick S; Sharma V; Herbert R; Moline JM; Katz CL
Psychiatr Q 2009 Sep; 80(3):173-189
A qualitative study of the experiences of rescue and recovery workers/volunteers at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 is reported. Information was extracted from a semi-structured clinical evaluation of 416 responders who were the initial participants in a large scale medical and mental health screening and treatment program for 9/11 responders. Qualitative analysis revealed themes that spanned four categories- occupational roles, exposures, attitudes/experiences, and outcomes related to the experience of Ground Zero. Themes included details regarding Ground Zero roles, grotesque experiences such as smells, the sense of the surreal nature of responding, and a turning to rituals to cope after leaving Ground Zero. These findings personalize the symptom reports and diagnoses that have resulted from the 9/11 responders' exposure to Ground Zero, yielding richer information than would otherwise be available for addressing the psychological dimensions of disasters. This work shows that large scale qualitative surveillance of trauma-exposed populations is both relevant and feasible.
Emergency-responders; Fire-fighters; Police-officers; Paramedical-services; Surveillance-programs; Statistical-analysis; Epidemiology; Psychological-effects; Psychological-reactions; Psychological-adaptation; Author Keywords: Mental health; Trauma; 9/11; Responders; Disaster; World Trade Center; Qualitative analysis
C. L. Katz, Department of Psychiatry, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Box 1230, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA
Cooperative Agreement; Contract
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U10-OH-008216; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U10-OH-008223; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U10-OH-008225; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U10-OH-008232; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U10-OH-008275; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U10-OH-008239
Issue of Publication
The Psychiatric quarterly
NY; IL; CT
State University of New York Stony Brook
Page last reviewed: January 7, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division