Study by Capella University faculty member following 9/11 attacks shows New Yorkers desire for vengeance among lowest in nation

December 16, 2005

Minneapolis, MN, December 16, 2005 – A nationwide study co-directed by Capella University faculty member Dr. Curtis Brant has found that the desire for vengeance among New Yorkers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was among the lowest in the nation.

Dr. Brant conducted the study with Dr. Michael Johll of The Johll Consulting Group approximately one month after Sept. 11, 2001. Titled “Coping efforts from the September 11th terrorist attack,” the study involved face-to-face surveys with 1,142 Americans from across the continental United States, including New York City. According to Brant, he initiated the study to explore the role faith plays in how Americans cope with major disasters and whether or not it contributes to our success in coping with such events.

“We wanted to get the initial reaction so that it was fresh in people’s minds how they were coping with it. People were very willing to talk and very willing to fill out the survey,” he says. “We did become very invested in the study because we talked with everyone at length about their experiences. It was a very intense week that we were there in New York.”

It was while in New York that Brant and Johll collected the most intriguing responses to the survey. Compared to survey participants in other areas of the country, New Yorkers expressed the lowest desire for vengeance in response to the attacks. Respondents in other east coast states expressed a relatively high desire for vengeance, but not New Yorkers.

“It was so surprising and unexpected. That was the thing that stood out to us,” Brant says. “It was still a very, very real event one month later. Because of being directly effected by it…I think that New Yorkers were much less willing to wish this on someone else, because they lived through the devastation. I like to point to a particular firefighter who said, ‘I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, what happened to us.’”

Brant, who is a core faculty with Capella University’s School of Human Services, said the overall results of the study show that there were more similarities than not in how Americans coped with the events of Sept. 11, 2001. However, those who reported using religious coping methods, such as relying on clergy or others in their faith communities, appeared to have more success in coping with the attacks.

“We were interested to see if those people who relied on religious forms of coping fared better, mentally and physically, after the event than those who did not. Generally what we found is that people who used religious forms of coping had better outcomes. They were less depressed. They got over the event quicker and have better physical health.”

The survey consisted of a 10-page questionnaire with a total of about 300 questions. Brant and Johll are currently working on a book that details their experiences in conducting the study.

About Capella University
Founded in 1993, Capella University is an accredited* online university that offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services and psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Science online degree program with 10 specializations in business and information technology. The online university currently serves more than 13,000 enrolled learners from all 50 states and 55 countries. Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis . For more information, visit or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, located at 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, (312) 263-0456,

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