Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 364-369

First online:

PTSD and depression among displaced Chinese workers after the world trade center attack: A follow-up study

  • Heike Thiel de BocanegraAffiliated withCenter for Reproductive Health Research & Policy, University of California Email author 
  • , Sophia MoskalenkoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Priscilla ChanAffiliated withChinese-American Planning Council, Community Services

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We conducted a follow-up assessment to assess the development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression among Chinese immigrants after the World Trade Center attack. Sixty-five Chinese displaced workers who were originally interviewed in May 2002 were re-interviewed in March 2003. Whereas depression scores decreased over time, avergae PTSD scores remained unchanged. The trajectory of posttraumatic stress symptoms was more complex, with an increasing number of individuals who show no or little emotional health problems and another increasing group of individuals with exacerbated posttraumatic stress symptoms. Although the mean values of the re-experiencing and hypervigilance cluster did not change over time, the mean value of the avoidance/numbing cluster increased significantly from time 1 (M=4.60, SD=4.98) to time 2 (M=6.34, SD=4.24), (F1.61=5.69, P=.02). A higher proportion of subjects met diagnostic criteria of PTSD at time 2 (27%) than at time 1 (21%). The study highlights the importance of ongoing mental health surveillance of diverse cultural and linguistic groups after a major traumatic event.


Chinese-American Depression New York PTSD Terrorism WTC attacks