Behavior: Air Crash Survivors: The Troubled Aftermath

To survive after near annihilation is to acquire a special knowledge of death that transforms life forever after. So believes Robert Jay Lifton, the Yale psychiatrist who titled his famed 1967 study of the Hiroshima survivors Death in Life. Few behavioral scientists have studied plane-crash survivors; after all, there have not been very many. But Lifton and some of his colleagues believe that the men and women who have lived through air disasters have something in common with those who emerged alive from the atomic holocaust of 1945.

The psychological effects of disaster are intensified by the swiftness with which it strikes....

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