Religious and Spiritual Aspects of Disaster Experience Among Survivors of the 9/11 Attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center

  • Barry A. HongEmail author
  • David E. Pollio
  • E. Whitney Pollio
  • Omar T. Sims
  • Anthony Pedrazine
  • Carol S. North
Original Paper


This study examined religious and spiritual aspects of disaster experience among 379 survivors of the 9/11 attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center. Interviews conducted 35 months after the disaster provided structured diagnostic assessments of psychiatric disorders and specific detail of demographic characteristics, experience of the disaster, and variables related to religion and spirituality. The study participants overwhelmingly identified with a specific religion. The disaster appeared to have only modest effects on strength and importance of religion/spirituality, and changes were predominantly positive. Specific religions and faith groups differed in their disaster experience in important ways.


Religion Coping Disaster 9/11 attacks 



This research was partially supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Grant MH68853 to Dr. North.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

The study protocol was approved by Institutional Review Boards of each participating institution, and patients provided written consent prior to participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Work, College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Behavior, School of Public HealthUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  3. 3.Center for AIDS Research, School of MedicineUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  4. 4.Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging, School of MedicineUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  6. 6.The Altshuler Center for Education and ResearchMetrocare ServicesDallasUSA
  7. 7.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  8. 8.School of NursingUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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