Divorce following the September 11 terrorist attacks

Catherine L. Cohan, Steve W. Cole, Robert Schoen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We investigated the effect of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on marital stability. Previous research showed rates of divorce changed in opposite directions following natural disaster versus terrorist disaster. Using a prospective, longitudinal design and time series analysis, we examined rates of divorces filed by month, with respect to the World Trade Center attack in New York City (NYC). To examine whether effects radiated beyond NYC according to geographic proximity or psychological proximity, we examined four other counties of varying distance from NYC. Results showed geographic and psychological proximity effects. Following a major manmade disaster characterized by death, divorce rates decreased in NYC and Bergen County, NJ, geographically proximal locales, and in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, psychologically proximal locales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-530
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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