Bioterrorism, stress, and pain: The importance of an anticipatory community preparedness intervention

Peter B. Polatin, Mark Young, Maile Mayer, Robert Gatchel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This article reviews the accumulating scientific evidence demonstrating the negative impact caused by a cataclysmic event, such as bioterrorism, on the mental health of a community. Moreover, the potential mental health problems created by the continuing threat of possible future events are discussed. This close link among disaster events, stress, pain, and psychopathology is presented from a biopsychosocial perspective. Although there are now efforts being systematically developed to prepare for possible future biological or chemical terrorism events, there is currently also a critical need for early mental health intervention in response to future attacks to decrease psychiatric sequelae, especially workforce illness and morbidity. In this article, examples of such emergency bioterrorism preparedness, incorporating a major focus on mental health issues, are reviewed. Although these are now recognized needs, there is still not a concerted effort to prepare the population for the mental health sequelae that would be produced by such events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-316
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioterrorism
  • Mental health
  • Pain
  • Preparedness
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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