Parental posttraumatic stress and child behavioral problems in world trade center responders

Mai Uchida, Huifen Feng, Adriana Feder, Natalie Mota, Clyde B. Schechter, Hilary D. Woodworth, Caroline G. Kelberman, Michael Crane, Philip Landrigan, Jacqueline Moline, Iris Udasin, Denise Harrison, Benjamin J. Luft, Craig Katz, Steven M. Southwick, Robert H. Pietrzak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: We investigated trans-generational associations between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in World Trade Center (WTC) responders and behavioral problems in their children. Methods: Participants were WTC responders—8034 police and 8352 non-traditional (eg, construction workers)—with one or more children at the time of their first visit to the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC-HP). Self-report questionnaires were administered approximately 4 years after the 9/11 WTC attack. Results: A total of 31.4% of non-traditional and 20.0% of police responders reported behavioral problems in their children. Non-traditional responder status, female sex, Hispanic ethnicity, more life stressors, more WTC-related PTSD symptoms, and dysphoric arousal symptoms were significant correlates of behavioral problems in responders’ children. Conclusions: Specific parental sociodemographic, psychosocial and clinical characteristics, as well as PTSD symptom severity, were significant correlates of child behavior problems. Findings encourage monitoring and early intervention for children of disaster responders, particularly those at highest risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-514
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • children
  • disaster responders
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • trans-generational transmission
  • world trade center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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