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Survey of New Jersey Residents

 

In October, November, and December of 2001, a set of questions was added to the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey questionnaire to ascertain the psychological and emotional impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New Jersey adults. (For a full discussion of the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey and the national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System see http://www.state.nj.us/health/chs/brfss.htm.) Responses to the questions are presented in detail below. Among the findings were:
  • Approximately 40% of adults reportedly knew someone they identified as a "victim" of the attacks. Younger adults were more likely than older adults to have known someone they identified as a "victim", particularly a friend or coworker.
  • Approximately 12% of adults reportedly attended a funeral or memorial service for someone who was killed in the attacks. Women were more likely than men to report having attended a service for a particular victim.
  • Approximately half of adults reportedly attended a religious ceremony or community service for the victims of the attacks. Women were more likely than men to report having attended a memorial service in general.
  • Approximately one third of employed adults reportedly missed work because of the attacks. Among employed adults, those aged 18-34 were most likely to have missed work because of the attacks.
  • Among those who missed work, approximately half reported that their workplace was closed and/or they had no transportation. About one fourth reported being simply too upset to work.
  • About half of all adults reported feeling angry since the attacks, and about one fourth reported feeling worried. About 10% reportedly experienced sleep problems. Feelings of worry, nervousness, and hopelessness were reported most commonly among younger individuals, particularly women. Women were also significantly more likely to feel loss of control than men.
  • Overall, only about 11% of those who experienced feelings or problems since the attacks reported getting help with those problems. About 40% of these got help from a friend or relative, while only about 20% got help from a mental health professional or social worker, and only about 20% got help from a religious counselor or group.
  • About 5% of current drinkers reportedly increased their consumption of alcohol subsequent to the attacks.
  • Approximately one fourth of female smokers reportedly increased their smoking levels, as opposed to only about 10% of male smokers.
  • A small number of non-smokers reportedly started smoking subsequent to the attacks.


Table 1.   Were you or anyone you know a victim of the attacks?
Table 2.    Did you attend any funeral services or memorial services for anyone who was killed in the attacks?
Table 3.   Have you participated in any religious ceremonies or community memorial services?
Table 4.    Did you miss work for any reason because of the attacks?
Table 5.    Since the attacks, have you experienced any of the following feelings or problems: anger, nervousness, worry, sleep problems, hopelessness, and/or loss of control?
Table 6.    Did you get help with problems you have experienced since the attacks?
Table 7.    Since the attacks, if you drink, have you had more alcoholic beverages to drink than usual?
Table 8.    Have you smoked more cigarettes since the attacks?
Table 9.    Have you started smoking cigarettes since the attacks?


For further discussion of these data, and additional findings pertaining to New York and Connecticut residents, please see Psychological and Emotional Effects of the September 11 Attacks on the World Trade Center --- Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, 2001 published in the September 6, 2002 issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

 
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