Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sept. 11 Stress Increases Risk Of Heart Problems, Study Suggests

Date:
January 8, 2008
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
Stress and fear in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks may be making Americans sicker, according to a groundbreaking new study. Participants who reported high levels of acute stress immediately after the attacks were about twice as likely to report being diagnosed with hypertension and about three times as likely to report a diagnosis of heart problems over the following two years.

Stress and fear in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks may be making Americans sicker, according to a groundbreaking new study by UC Irvine researchers.

Related Articles


For the first time, acute stress responses to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been linked to a 53 percent increased incidence in cardiovascular ailments over three years following 9/11. These findings persist even after considering health status before 9/11, degree of exposure to the attacks, and risk factors such as cholesterol problems, diabetes, smoking, and body weight. The results were especially strong among individuals reporting ongoing worry about terrorism after 9/11; these individuals were three to four times more likely to report a doctor-diagnosed heart problem two to three years after the attacks.

"Our study is the first to show that even among people who had no personal connection to the victims, those who reported high levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms in the days following the 9/11 attacks were more than twice as likely to report being diagnosed by their doctors with cardiovascular ailments like high blood pressure, heart problems and stroke up to three years later," said Alison Holman, Professor in Nursing Science and lead researcher for the study.

"We must consider the potential public health impact of indirect exposure to extreme stress since the majority of our respondents were exposed to the attacks only by watching television," said Roxane Cohen Silver, Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior and Medicine. "Our findings highlight the possibility that acute stress reactions may indicate subsequent vulnerability to potentially serious health problems."

The study involved a random sample of almost 2,000 adults from across the country that completed confidential surveys in the days and months following the September 11 attacks. Participants answered questions about acute responses to the attacks, ongoing worries about terrorism (e.g., I worry that an act of terrorism will personally affect me or someone in my family) and physician-diagnosed health ailments. The majority of the respondents reported watching the attacks on live television; one-third reported no live or direct exposure to the attacks, and a few reported direct exposures to the attacks. Follow-up surveys were conducted annually for three years.

Researchers analyzed survey participant feedback regarding their physical and mental health, worries about terrorism and lifetime exposure to traumatic events, such as divorce or abuse. The study concludes that psychological stress following the attacks led to an increase incidence of cardiovascular ailments among adults who had no known pre-existing cardiac condition.

This study, funded by the National Science Foundation, builds upon previous research by Silver and Holman into stress responses to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In a report the researchers released in 2002, 17 percent of the U.S. population outside of New York City reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress two months after the attacks. This research shows that the psychological effects of a traumatic event are not limited to those who experience it directly, and that health consequences can be felt years after the event if appropriate treatment is not available to those who are at greatest risk.

Journal reference: Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(1):73-80


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Sept. 11 Stress Increases Risk Of Heart Problems, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080107181348.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2008, January 8). Sept. 11 Stress Increases Risk Of Heart Problems, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080107181348.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Sept. 11 Stress Increases Risk Of Heart Problems, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080107181348.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins