Collective trauma

Expressing thoughts and feelings following a collective trauma: immediate responses to 9/11 predict negative outcomes in a national sample.

Collective traumas can negatively affect large numbers of people who ostensibly did not experience events directly, making it particularly important to identify which people are most vulnerable to developing mental and physical health problems as a result of such events. It is commonly believed that successful coping with a traumatic event requires expressing one's thoughts and feelings about the experience, suggesting that people who choose not to do so would be at high risk for poor adjustment.

Searching for and finding meaning in collective trauma: results from a national longitudinal study of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The ability to make sense of events in one's life has held a central role in theories of adaptation to adversity. However, there are few rigorous studies on the role of meaning in adjustment, and those that have been conducted have focused predominantly on direct personal trauma. The authors examined the predictors and long-term consequences of Americans' searching for and finding meaning in a widespread cultural upheaval--the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001--among a national probability sample of U.S. adults (N=931).

Finding social benefits after a collective trauma: Perceiving societal changes and well-being following 9/11

Individuals frequently perceive positive changes in themselves following adversity; after a collective trauma, they may perceive such benefits in others or in their society as well. We examined perceived benefits of the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks in a 3-year study of a national sample of adults (N = 1382). Many individuals (57.8%) perceived social benefits of 9/11, including increased prosocial behavior, religiousness, or political engagement.

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