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Study: New Yorkers Desire for Sept. 11 Vengeance Among Lowest in Nation

Study: New Yorkers Desire for Sept. 11 Vengeance Among Lowest in Nation

A nationwide study co-directed by Capella University professor Dr. Curtis Brant has found that the desire for vengeance among New Yorkers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was among the lowest in the nation.

Brant conducted the study with Dr. Michael Johll of The Johll Consulting Group approximately one month after Sept. 11. Titled “Coping Efforts From the September 11th Terrorist Attack,” the study involved face-to-face surveys with 1,142 Americans from across the continental United States, including New York City. According to Brant, he initiated the study to explore the role faith plays in how Americans cope with major disasters and whether it contributes to our success in coping with such events.

“We wanted to get the initial reaction so that it was fresh in people’s minds how they were coping with it. People were very willing to talk and very willing to fill out the survey,” Brant says. “We did become very invested in the study because we talked with everyone at length about their experiences. It was a very intense week that we were there in New York.”

It was while in New York that Brant and Johll collected the most intriguing responses to the survey. Compared to survey participants in other areas of the country, New Yorkers expressed the lowest desire for vengeance in response to the attacks. Respondents in other East Coast states expressed a relatively high desire for vengeance, but not New Yorkers.

“It was so surprising and unexpected. That was the thing that stood out to us,” Brant says. “It was still a very, very real event one month later. Because of being directly affected by it … I think that New Yorkers were much less willing to wish this on someone else, because they lived through the devastation.”

Brant, a faculty member with Capella University’s School of Human Services, says the overall results of the study showed that there were more similarities than differences in how Americans coped with the events of Sept. 11. However, those who reported using religious coping methods, such as relying on clergy or others in their faith communities, appeared to have more success in coping with the attacks.

“Generally, what we found is that people who used religious forms of coping had better outcomes,” Brant says. “They were less depressed. They got over the event quicker and have better physical health.”

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