Children’s Disaster Reactions: the Influence of Exposure and Personal Characteristics

  • Betty Pfefferbaum
  • Anne K. Jacobs
  • Natalie Griffin
  • J. Brian Houston
Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry (B Pfefferbaum, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-015-0598-5

Cite this article as:
Pfefferbaum, B., Jacobs, A.K., Griffin, N. et al. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2015) 17: 56. doi:10.1007/s11920-015-0598-5
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry

Abstract

This paper reviews children’s reactions to disasters and the personal and situational factors that influence their reactions. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic stress reactions are the most commonly studied outcomes, though other conditions also occur including anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and substance use. More recently, traumatic grief and posttraumatic growth have been explored. New research has delineated trajectories of children’s posttraumatic stress reactions and offered insight into the long-term consequences of their disaster experiences. Risk factors for adverse outcomes include pre-disaster vulnerabilities, perception of threat, and loss and life disruptions post-disaster. Areas in need of additional research include studies on the timing and course of depression and anxiety post-event and their interactions with other disorders, disaster-related functional and cognitive impairment, positive outcomes, and coping.

Keywords

Adolescents Anxiety Children Coping Depression Disaster Exposure Mental health Posttraumatic growth Posttraumatic stress Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Recovery Resilience Terrorism Trauma Traumatic grief 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betty Pfefferbaum
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anne K. Jacobs
    • 2
  • Natalie Griffin
    • 2
  • J. Brian Houston
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, College of MedicineUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.Terrorism and Disaster CenterUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of CommunicationUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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