First Advisor

Susan Poulsen

Date of Publication

Spring 7-18-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication






September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001 -- Influence, Korean Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -- Personal narratives, Korean Americans -- Religious life



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 118 pages)


This is one of the first qualitative studies to investigate experiences of Korean-American Christians living in New York City at the time of 9/11. This study sought to gain an understanding of how a group of Second Generation Korean-American Christians living in New York City at the time of the 9/11 attacks experienced that event and the event's impact on their religious beliefs. The study also investigated the communication context at the time of the ten year anniversary of the event, September 11th, 2011. The guiding research questions were: RQ1) What were their life experiences of 9/11? RQ2) Was their religious status affected by the event? RQ3) What is being communicated about 9/11 after 10 years?

The research design was a phenomenological study that included eight individual interviews with second generation Korean-Americans who were 14-18 years of age at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Four initial macro level thematic patterns emerged: I: The day of the attack. II: Immediate Post 9/11. III: Religious Impact. IV: 9/11 Ten years later. Some key findings in the study included narratives of various emotional responses to the event, such as panic, disbelief, and fear. Age was significant, as participants recognized how their age during and after the event, impacted their lived experiences and understanding of 9/11. Location impacted participants and their loved ones. Each participant was in high school during 9/11 which affected ways of gathering information, the impact of seeing smoke coming from the World Trade Towers, and having poor cell phone reception. The study also revealed that two participants became more religious and active in the Christian church directly because of 9/11, while the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of the other six participants were found to be unaffected by 9/11. At the ten year anniversary of 9/11 safety in New York City and in U.S. post 9/11, 'feeling vulnerable' to attacks, and 9/11 being `just another day' were among the issues addressed by participants.


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