The World Trade Center (WTC) disaster on September 11, 2001 was an unprecedented traumatic event with long-lasting health consequences among the affected populations in the New York metropolitan area. This meta-analysis aimed to estimate the risk of probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with specific types of WTC exposures. Meta-analytical findings from 10 studies of 3,271 to 20,294 participants yielded 37 relevant associations. The pooled summary odds ratio (OR) was 2.05 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.82, 2.32), with substantial heterogeneity linked to exposure classification, cohort type, data source, PTSD assessment instrument/criteria, and lapse time since 9/11. In general, responders (e. g. police, firefighters, rescue/recovery workers and volunteers) had a lower probable PTSD risk (OR = 1.61; 95% CI: 1.39, 1.87) compared to civilians (e. g. residents, office workers, and passersby; OR = 2.71, 95% CI: 2.35, 3.12). The differences in ORs between responders and civilians were larger for physical compared to psychosocial exposure types. We also found that injury, lost someone, and witnessed horror were the three (out of six) most pernicious exposures. These findings suggest that these three exposures should be a particular focus in psychological evaluation and treatment programs in WTC intervention and future emergency preparedness efforts.
Occupational Health, Epimediology and Prevention