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The behavioral consequences of terrorism: a meta-analysis

DiMaggio, Charles J.; Galea, Sandro

Terrorism is an ongoing concern throughout the world. The United States Department of State documented 228 acts of worldwide terrorism between 1961 and 2003. Of these 197 were in the developing world. In the US, attention has turned to the threat of terrorism with the September 11, 2001 terrorist bombings, the largest single-day loss of human-life in US history since the Civil War. Subsequent terrorist attacks such as the October 12, 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings, and the July 7, 2005 London bombings, have further brought the threat of terrorism to the forefront of national and international discourse. Several large-scale reviews of the consequences of disasters have been published. These reviews have documented the prevalence and correlates of specific psychiatric disorders and behaviors after mass events. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) emerges from this work as the best studied, and likely most common, psychopathology after disasters. One theme to arise from these reviews is that disasters that are caused by human-intent (such as terrorism) may be associated with a particularly high risk of psychopathology in their aftermath. As such, explicit study of the mental health consequences of terrorism may be warranted. To illuminate this issue, we undertook a review and synthesis of quantitative studies of the behavioral health effects of terrorist incidents focusing primarily on the prevalence and correlates of PTSD.

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Academic Emergency Medicine, vol. 13, no. 5 (May 2006), pp. 559-566.

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