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Meaning reconstruction in the face of terror: An examination of recovery and posttraumatic growth among victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks

Katherine M. Richardson, PhD


This study examines the relationship between meaning reconstruction with posttraumatic growth and depreciation in the aftermath of terrorist trauma and loss. A group of individuals (n = 118) who were personally affected by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were surveyed about their experiences and administered the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory and Impact of Event scales. Subjects were volunteer docents at the Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center. Results revealed that ability to make sense of one's 9/11 experience was related to recovery but not to posttraumatic growth, whereas ability to find some benefit in the experience was related to growth. In addition, location in downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001 was related to higher levels of posttraumatic depreciation. Findings suggest that two aspects of meaning reconstruction are differentially related to recovery and posttraumatic growth.


September 11, terrorism, meaning reconstruction, recovery, posttraumatic growth, posttraumatic depreciation

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