The Nature of Stress due to Terrorism on Pregnant Women and their Offspring

Issue: 
Publication Date: 
10/2004
Page Count: 
10
Starting Page: 
65
Price: $10.00
Abstract: 

Current literature demonstrates that stress during pregnancy can have long-term effects on offspring. The purpose of this paper is to examine the possible stress reactions of pregnant women exposed to terrorism. The main focus is on PTSD as the predominant reaction to terrorism and how it affects pregnancy. Conclusions: Although specific research linking terrorism and stress in pregnancy has not been studied/ published, the literature reviewed shows evidence that stress caused by terrorism is acute. Women exposed directly or indirectly to terrorist attacks could be subjecting their offspring to a high level of long-term risk.

KEY WORDS: terrorism, PTSD, stresses due to terrorism, stress, pregnancy, fetal development.

References: 

Bakker, J. M. & Van Rees, E. P. (1997). Prenatal stress and immuncompetence in later life. Development Brain Dysfunction, 10(6), 445-446.

Berkovitz, G. S., Wolff, M. S., Janevic T. M., Holzman, I. R. & Yehuda, R. (2003). The World Trade Center disaster and intrauterine growth restriction. Journal of American Medical Association, 290(5), 595-596.

Coe, C. L., Lubach, G. R., & Schneider, M. L. (2002). Prenatal disturbance alters the size of the corpus callosum in young monkeys. Developmental Psychobiology, 41(9), 1078-1085.

Devincent, C. J. (2002). Prenatal maternal stress, optimism, pessimism, distinguishing their individual impact on birth outcomes. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering, 62(9-B), 4272.

Dugan, L. (2002). Terrorism Statistics: 2000 and 2001. Summary of Emergency Response and Research Institute. Retrieved on March 10th, 2004 from: http: www.emergency.com

Hamblen, J. (2003). What are the traumatic stress effects of terrorism? A National Center for PTSD. Retrieved on August 26 2003 from: http: www.ncotsd.org

Hawkins, M. (2001). Fetal neurobehavioral development: The influence of maternal psychosocial land physical work stress during pregnancy. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering, 67(10-B), 5614.

Huizink, A. C., Robles de Medina, P. G., Mulder, E. J. H., Visser, G. H. A. & Buitelaar, J. K. (2002). Psychological measures of prenatal stress as predictors of infant temperament. Journal of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(9), 1078-1085.

Jehel, L., Paterniti, S., Brunei, A., Duchet, C. & Guelfl, J. D. (2003). Prediction of the occurrence and intensity of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims 32 months after bomb attack. European Psychiatry, 18(4), 172-176.

Kligman, A., Raviv, A., & Stein, B., (2000). Children in stress and in emergencies Characteristics and psychological interventions. Jerusalem: Ministry of Education Psychological and Counseling service.

Kofman, O. (2002). The role of prenatal stress in the etiology of developmental behavioral disorders. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 26, 457-470.

Lobel, M. (1994). Conceptualizations, measurement and effects of prenatal maternal stress on birth outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17, 1-48.

Mealey, R. (2001). September 11 and stress during pregnancy. The World Archive, Monday, November 26.

Mulder, E. J. H., Robles de Medina, P. G., Huizinik, A. C., Van den Bergh, B. R. H., Buitelaar J. K. & Visser, G. H. A. (2002). Prenatal maternal stress: effects on pregnancy and the (unborn) child. Early Human Development, 70(1-2), 3-14.

Norris, F. H., Byrne, C. M., & Diaz, E. (2003). Risk factors for adverse outcomes in natural and human-caused disasters: a review of the empirical literature. A National Center for PTSD sheet. Retrieved August 26, 2003 from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/.

Piontelli, A. (1992). From fetus to child: An observational and psychoanalytic study. London: Routledge.

Rich-Edwards, J., Krieger, N., Majzoub, J., Zierler, S., Lieberman, E. &Gillman, M. (2001). Maternal experiences of racism and violence as predictors of preterm birth: rationale and study design. Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 75(Suppl. 2), 124-135.

Schneider, M. L., Clark, A. S., Kraemer, G. W., Roughton, E. C., Lubach, G. R., Rimm Kaufman, S., Schmidt, D. & Ebert, M. (1998). Prenatal stress alters brain biogenic amine levels in primates. Development & Psychopathology, 10(3), 427-440.

Seng, J. S., Oakley, D. J., Sampselle, C. M., Killion, C. H., Graham-Berman, S., & Liberzon, I. (2001). Posttraumatic stress disorder and pregnancy complications. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 97(1), 17-22.

Silver Cohen, R., Holman, E. A., Malntosh, D. N., Poulin, M. & Gil-Rivas, M. (2002). Nationwide longitudinal study of psychological responses to September 11. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288(10), 1235-1244.

Speckhard, A. (2003). Acute stress disorder in diplomats, military, and civilian Americans living abroad following the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34(2), 151-158.

Talley, P. R. (2002). Male violence and stress in pregnancy: Neuroendocrine parameters and length of gestation. Dissertation Abstracts International: session B: the Sciences & Engineering, 63 (5-B).

U.S. Department of State (2004). Patterns of Global Terrorism and RAND/MIPT Terrorism Databases.

Van den Bergh, B. (1990). The influence of maternal emotions during pregnancy on fetal and neonatal behavior. Pre and Perinatal Psychology Journal. 5, 119-130.

Van Os, J., & Selten, J. P. (1998). Prenatal exposure to maternal stress and subsequent schizophrenia: The May 1940 invasion of the Netherlands. British Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 324-326.

Van Zelt, W., De Berus, E., & Smit, J. H. (2003). Effects of the September 11th attacks on symptoms of P.T.S.D on community-dwelling older persons in the Netherlands. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18(2), 190.

Verny, T. R., & Weintraub, P. (2002). Tomorrow's Baby. N.Y: Simon & Schuster.

Vlahov, D., Galea, S., Resnick, H., Ahern, J., & Kilpatrick, D. (2002). Increased use of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana among Manhattan, New York, residents after the September 11th terrorist attacks. American Journal of Epidemiology, 755(11), 988-996.

Yali, A. N., & Lobel, M. (2002). Stress-resistance resources and coping in pregnancy. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 15(3), 289-309.

Yaara Benitzhak, MA and

Thomas R. Verny, MD, DPsych, F.R.C.P.C.

Yaara Benitzhak, M.A. is a doctoral student at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Please address correspondence about this article to Mrs. Benitzhak at: yagevbenitzhak@aol.com; 1074 Ashbury court, Camarillo, California, 93010. Thomas R. Verny, M.D. is a member of the faculty of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Program of the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California.