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College Students' Behavior and Attitudes Following September 11 Attacks
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by Todd Brock Marable, Virginia Deroma, and Conway Saylor - The Citadel
The attack of September 11, 2001, was one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in American history. Previous research has noted trauma-related symptoms within populations living geographically distant from the attack that had been exposed through the media (Pferrerbaum et al., 2000). The purposes of the present study were (a) to assess the level of traumatic impact of the September 11th attack reported by students within a college population geographically distant from the attack and (b) to find the benefits that were experienced within this population. Participants were 420 students aged 17 to 54 years (M = 21) who attended 3 colleges in a city not directly attacked on September 11th. The most commonly reported symptoms included difficulty concentrating, feeling edgy, and replaying painful memories. The most commonly reported benefits included being more aware of how much people care for one another and how good people can be. Results indicated that a majority of the sample reported posttraumatic stress disorder--like symptoms and that a heightened sense of compassion was experienced as a result of traumatic exposure, suggesting that college students may need additional support after widely publicized disasters.