Trauma and Health Research

The biopsychosocial mechanisms by which stress and trauma impact physical health 

Using objective records of trauma (war records and 9/11 exposure) and documented disease (e.g., medical records), Dr. Andersen and colleagues  have demonstrated that both the nature of the event (witnessing death) and an individual’s reaction to the event (acute stress or post-traumatic stress disorder) are independent predictors of physical health problems (e.g., cardiovascular disease) in the short term (within the first few years post-trauma) and across the lifespan (Andersen, et al., 2010; Holman, Silver, Poulin, Andersen, Gil-Rivas, & McIntosh, 2008). We found that age is an important moderator; younger soldiers were more likely to suffer ill health consequences, and early mortality, compared to their older peers (Andersen, 2009; Pizarro [Andersen], Silver, & Prause, 2006). 


Sumner, J., Boisvert, D., & Andersen, J. P. (in press). The effects of stress and social support on externalizing behaviors among children in military families. Deviant Behavior.

Andersen, J. P., & Silver, R. C. (in press). Health effects of traumatic events. In K. Sweeny & M. L. Robbins (Eds.), The encyclopedia of health psychology, Vol. 2 (The social bases of health behavior). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Sliver, R. C., Holman, E. A., Andersen, J. P., Poulin, M., McIntosh, D., & Gil-Rivas, V. (2013). Mental and physical health effects of acute exposure to media images of the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612460406

Andersen, J. P., Silver, R.C., *Koperwas, B., *Stewart, B., & Kirschbaum, C (2013). Psychological and Physiological Responses to Repeated Peer Loss. PLOS ONE, 8(9) e75881.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075881

Andersen, J., Wade, M, Possemato, K, & Ouimette, P. (2010). The relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and primary care provider diagnosed disease among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72, 498-504.

Possemato, K., Wade, M., Andersen, J., Ouimette, P. (2010) The Impact of PTSD, Depression and Substance Use Disorders on Disease Burden and Health Care Utilization among OEF/OIF Veterans. Psychological Trauma, DOI 1037/a0019236.

Andersen, J. (2009). Haunted minds: The impact of combat exposure on the mental and physical health of Civil War veterans. In J. Schmidt & G. Hasegawa (Eds.), Years of Change and Suffering. Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine. Roseville, MN: Edinborough Press.

Holman E. A., Silver, R. C., Poulin, M., Andersen, J., Gil-Rivas, V., & McIntosh, D. N. (2008). Terrorism, acute stress, and cardiovascular health: A 3-year national study following the September 11th attacks. JAMA Psychiatry, 65, 7-80.

Silver, R. C., Poulin, M., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., Gil-Rivas, V., & Pizarro [Andersen], J. (2004). Exploring the myths of coping with a national trauma: A longitudinal study of responses to the September 11th terrorist attacks. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 9, 129-141.

Also appears in Y. Danieli, D. Brom, & J. Sills (Eds.), The trauma of terrorism: Sharing knowledge and shared care, An international handbook (pp. 129-141). Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 2005.

Silver, R. C., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., Poulin, M., Gil-Rivas, V., & Pizarro [Andersen], J. (2005). Coping with a national trauma: A nationwide longitudinal study of responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. In Y. Neria, R. Gross, R. Marshall, & E. Susser (Eds.), 9/11: Mental health in the wake of terrorist attacks (pp. 45-70). NY: Cambridge University Press.

Pizarro [Andersen], J., Silver, R. C., & Prause, J. (2006). Physical and mental health costs of traumatic war experiences among Civil War veterans. JAMA Psychiatry, 63, 193-200.

       Abstracted in C. Holden (Ed.) (2006). Random Samples: Civil War PTSD. Science, 311, 927.