Dr. Robyn Gershon, clinical professor of environmental public health sciences, at New York University College of Global Public Health, recently co-authored a study titled “Resilience to post-traumatic stress among World Trade Center survivors: A mixed-methods study,” which was recently published in the Journal of Emergency Management.
The purpose of the study was to identify individual characteristics, behaviors, and psychosocial factors associated with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among World Trade Center (WTC) disaster evacuation survivors. The study utilized a mixed-method design, including in-depth interviews that were conducted using a prepared script.
Thematic analysis was conducted to identify factors associated with PTSD such as lack of emergency response training, lack of sense of urgency, poor physical condition, lack of communication skills, lack of direction, peri-event physical injury, peri-event traumatic exposure (horror), and moral injury (guilt and remorse).
Several modifiable factors that may confer resilience were also identified, and the authors argue that the role of emergency response training in preventing disaster-related mental illness should be explored as a possible strategy for enhancing resilience to disaster events.