Exposure to 9/11 Among Youth and Their Mothers in New York City: Enduring Associations with Mental Health and Sociopolitical Attitudes

Gershoff, E.T., Aber, J.L., Ware, A., & J.A. Kotler.
Child Development, 81(4): 1141-1160

The enduring impact of exposure to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on mental health and sociopolitical attitudes was examined in a sample of 427 adolescents (= 16.20 years) and their mothers residing in New York City. Direct exposure to the terrorist attack was associated with youth depression symptoms and with mothers’ posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. There was no evidence of reciprocal effects of mother exposure on youth or of youth exposure on mothers. Although mothers reported engaging in more emotional processing coping assistance with their children, coping assistance was not associated with youth’s symptomatology. Media exposure was found to be a strong predictor of youth’s and mothers’ sociopolitical attitudes about issues such as prejudice toward immigrants, social mistrust, and current events.

Wagner Faculty