Master's Culminating Experience
Following events of terrorism communities and individuals are subject to the cumbersome responsibilities associated with rescue and recovery efforts. In addition to the loss of life and direct injuries sustained during the incident, long term health outcomes among the exposed population are often seen. Both physical and mental health can be affected as a result of the exposure, and some outcomes do not immediately present themselves. The population exposed to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City is no different, and the World Trade Center Health Registries database has been established by the New York Department of Health in order to more effectively monitor the population for long term adverse outcomes. This analysis uses the de-identified data within the World Trade Center Health Registry to examine the relationship between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and cardiovascular disease as well as to identify risk factors that placed an individual at increased risk of developing PTSD. It was found that female sex, age within the range of 25-44 years, African American persons, Hispanic/Latino persons, those with lower levels of education completed, and those who are widowed, divorced or separated were at increased risk of developing PTSD. Among the exposed population those who were identified as having probable PTSD there was an increased risk of myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes mellitus type II developing or occurring after September 11th when compared to the exposed population that did not develop probable PTSD. Mental illness, especially PTSD, is debilitating in its own right and the increased impact of the morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular disease can only act to increase the barrier to the recovery of a population following disaster. By identifying those at increased risk of developing PTSD and creating interventional programs that prevent PTSD, the adverse outcomes associated with cardiovascular disease can be avoided.
Imhof, K. C. (2011). Cardiovascular Disease and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Adults Exposed to the Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center. Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.