Psychological and behavioural reactions to the bombings in London on 7 July 2005: cross sectional survey of a representative sample of Londoners

J Rubin, C Brewin, N Greenberg, J Simpson, S Wessely

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223 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To assess the impact of the bombings in London on 7 July on stress levels and travel intentions in London's population. Design A cross sectional telephone survey using random digit dialling was conducted to contact a representative sample of adults. Respondents were asked to participate in an interview enquiring about current levels of stress and travel intentions. Setting Inter views took place between 18 and 20 July. Participants 1010 participants (10% of the eligible people we contacted) completed the interviews. Main outcome measures Main outcomes were presence of substantial stress, measured by using an identical tool to that used to assess the emotional impact of I I September 2001 in the US population, and intention to travel less on tubes, trains, and buses, or into central London, once the transport network had returned to normal. Results 31% of Londoners reported substantial stress and 32% reported an intention to travel less. Among other things, having difficulty contacting friends or family by mobile phone (odds ratio 1.7,95% confidence interval 1.1 to 2.7), having thought you could have been injured or killed (3.8, 2.4 to 6.2), and being Muslim (4.0, 2.5 to 6.6) were associated with a greater presence of substantial stress, whereas being white (0.3,0.2 to 0.4) and having previous experience of terrorism (0.6, 0.5 to 0.9) were associated with reduced stress. Only 12 participants (1%) felt that they needed professional help to deal with their emotional response to the attacks. Conclusions Although the psychological needs of those intimately caught up in the attacks will require further assessment, we found no evidence of a widespread desire for professional counselling. The attacks have inflicted disproportionately high levels of distress among non-white and Muslim Londoners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606 - 610
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ, British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Ed.)
Issue number7517
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2005


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