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Study Finds Resilience Among Preschoolers Post 9/11


Philip Saigh, Professor of Psychology and Education

Philip Saigh, Professor of Psychology and Education

In a study conducted eight to 10 months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, TC psychologist Philip Saigh found no evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among preschool-aged children who were within a mile of the World Trade Center on that day and who were exposed to at least one traumatic event. In Saigh’s study, there were also no significant differences in standardized measures of childhood adjustment between the trauma-exposed group of children and a group of peers who were between two and 14 miles away from the World Trade Center during the attacks and not exposed to traumatic events.

The findings suggest that the trauma-exposed children were relatively resilient to the events of 9/11.  They also suggest that the diagnostic threshold for PTSD in the fourth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), may be too high for preschool children. 

“Very little empirical research has addressed the functioning of preschool children after 9/11, and I believe the outcomes are important,” says Saigh, Professor of Psychology and Education.

Saigh’s study was recently published in Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy (Vol. 3, No. 2, 109–116), a journal of the American Psychological Association.

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