9/11 terrorist attacks raised mental illness far beyond US borders
New York, Sep 10 (IANS) A “significant and immediate” spike in trauma and stress related disorders has been found in Denmark following the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 in the US, new research reveals.
The study carried out by an international team of political scientists and medical researchers “sadly confirms that one of the alleged purposes of (certain types of) terrorism — to generate mass-scale attention and intimidation — is in fact achieved.”
The findings showed that even though the Nordic country was not directly impacted by the attacks, trauma and stress-related disorders such as adjustment disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder in the week right after the September 11 attacks, recorded a 16 per cent increase.
The effect persisted for an extended period after the initial shock, and half a year after the 9/11 attacks, the incidence of trauma and stressor related disorders remained elevated about 5 per cent above the normal level. It did not return to normal until about a year after the attacks, the researchers said.
Further, the study found that mass media played a major role in generating the observed effect.
“The extra-national character of the post-9/11 deterioration of mental health also highlights the pronounced importance of mass media in transmitting stress-inducing information to populations in countries far removed from the target of the attack,” said Bertel T. Hansen from Stanford University in California, US.
The effect of more recent and future terrorist attacks could be even stronger given the highly visual and real-time nature of today’s internet-based mass media, the authors argued.
The results appear online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.