Short communication: September 11th related stress and trauma in New Yorkers

Jennifer P. Friedberg, Marios N. Adonis, Heather A. Von Bergen, Sonia Suchday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure to trauma and stress has been linked with poor health, while forgiveness appears to be positively associated with health outcomes. The current study investigates whether traits such as forgiveness and ruminative tendencies predict levels of trauma and stress experienced by New York City residents on the 1-year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack. Seventy-one students and staff members (57 females, 14 males) of a graduate school in New York City were administered the Impact of Events Scale, the Perceived Stress Scale, and questionnaires designed for the purpose of this study to measure ruminative tendencies and forgiveness on September 11, 2002. Rumination predicted levels of trauma (p < 0.05) and perceived stress (p < 0.01). Lower levels of forgiveness predicted perceived stress (p < 0.05), but not trauma. Rumination mediated the relationship between forgiveness and perceived stress. These findings suggest that individuals with higher levels of rumination have an elevated risk of experiencing trauma and stress-related symptoms following a traumatic event. Forgiveness is associated with lower levels of stress, but not trauma, perhaps because trauma is an extreme form of stress. Forgiveness appears to serve as a buffer against stress more so in individuals with low levels of rumination than in individuals with high levels of rumination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalStress and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


  • Forgiveness
  • Rumination
  • September 11th
  • Stress
  • Trauma


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