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Individuals present in lower Manhattan during the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster suffered from significant physical and psychological trauma. Studies of longitudinal psychological distress among those exposed to trauma have been limited to relatively short durations of follow-up among smaller samples.
The current study longitudinally assessed heterogeneity in trajectories of psychological distress among WTC Health Registry enrollees – a prospective cohort health study of responders, students, employees, passersby, and residents in the affected area (N = 30 839) – throughout a 15-year period following the WTC disaster. Rescue/recovery status and exposure to traumatic events of 9/11, as well as sociodemographic factors and health status, were assessed as risk factors for trajectories of psychological distress.
Five psychological distress trajectory groups were found: none-stable, low-stable, moderate-increasing, moderate-decreasing, and high-stable. Of the study sample, 78.2% were classified as belonging to the none-stable or low-stable groups. Female sex, being younger at the time of 9/11, lower education and income were associated with a higher probability of being in a greater distress trajectory group relative to the none-stable group. Greater exposure to traumatic events of 9/11 was associated with a higher probability of a greater distress trajectory, and community members (passerby, residents, and employees) were more likely to be in greater distress trajectory groups – especially in the moderate-increasing [odds ratios (OR) 2.31 (1.97–2.72)] and high-stable groups [OR 2.37 (1.81–3.09)] – compared to the none-stable group.
The current study illustrated the heterogeneity in psychological distress trajectories following the 9/11 WTC disaster, and identified potential avenues for intervention in future disasters.
It has long been known that there is a significant connection between Aphrodite and Semitic goddesses. In Walter Burkert's recent words, ‘Behind the figure of Aphrodite there clearly stands the ancient Semitic goddess of love, Ishtar-Astarte.’ This was already recognized by Herodotus (1.105, 131) and Philo of Byblos (Eus. Prep. evang. 1.812). I want here to note a curious and striking item of connection that has not been noticed.
Three times in Scripture, God is explicitly called a “consuming fire” (Deut 4:24; 9:3; Heb 12:29). A few other times he is compared to a “consuming fire” (Exod 24:17; Isa 30:27, 30; 33:14[?]). The church fathers often quote or allude to this notion of God as a “consuming fire.” In particular, Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine do so a number of times. I want here only to point out that on several occasions these words (“God is a consuming fire”) are strangely misquoted and commentators refrain from discussing the peculiarity. My purpose is to call scholars' attention to this strange quotation and in addition to offer possible solutions to the problem.