Making Meaning of the September 11 Attacks: Spanish- and Mandarin-Speaking Focus Groups

Anne E. Johnson, Carol S North, David E. Pollio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article examines experiences and perceptions related to the September 11, 2001, attacks among members of two immigrant groups (Spanish-speaking and Mandarin-speaking) in New York City. Focus groups were conducted 1–2 years after the attacks. Qualitative analysis was conducted using ATLAS.ti. Three major themes emerged: (a) Immediate Experience of the Attacks, (b) Evolving Psychological Adjustment, and (c) Long-Term Issues of Public Concern. The groups’ discussions diverged with temporal progression across these themes, reflecting increasing congruence with broad conceptualizations of their respective cultures. The findings suggest that, over time, culture increasingly influenced the meaning these people made of the disaster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-227
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Loss and Trauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017


  • 9/11 attacks
  • Mandarin-speaking
  • Spanish-speaking
  • culture
  • disaster mental health
  • disaster psychiatry
  • focus group study
  • meaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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