/11 Closure Is Healthy
Mon Sep 9, 2:05 PM ET

SATURDAY, June 8 (HealthScoutNews) -- People who were quick to recover psychologically from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States are physically healthier than people not able to attain closure, says a small University of Arkansas study.

The research also found that those who refused to let the terrorist attacks reshape their world views recovered more swiftly than people who undertook extensive reevaluation of their beliefs and perspectives. It also showed that the majority of people were able to attain closure, despite being unable to make sense of what had happened.

The findings were to be presented today at the American Psychological Society's annual convention in New Orleans.

The study involved 111 University of Arkansas students who filled out a questionnaire about coping mechanisms three times between Sept. 12 and mid-December. The list of 26 common coping mechanisms ranged from positive approaches -- like expressing one's feelings to family and friends -- to negative approaches -- taking drugs or alcohol to numb yourself. The students were also asked to rate, on a scale of 1-to-10, the extent to which they had put the events of Sept. 11 behind them.

At the start and end of the study, they were also asked to fill out surveys about their physical health.

By mid-December, almost all the students showed significant recovery, and 96 percent reported a higher sense of closure than they had on the first questionnaire.

In addition, the health surveys showed that those who reported higher ratings of closure in mid-December had fewer days of illness and fewer doctor visits over the previous three months.

Study author Denise Beike, an associate professor of psychology at the university, said in a statement that the finding fits with other studies she has conducted, which have indicated that closure gives you both physical and mental health benefits.

More information

The American Counseling Association has a list of 10 ways to recognize post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Experience teaches that, of all the emotions, fear stands alone in its power to move us, or to capture us in its grip forever. In a world of terrors, there is nothing more fearsome that the unknown...especially when what is unknown is ourselves." Outer Limits(Fear Itself)