Children’s Disaster Reactions: the Influence of Exposure and Personal Characteristics
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- Pfefferbaum, B., Jacobs, A.K., Griffin, N. et al. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2015) 17: 56. doi:10.1007/s11920-015-0598-5
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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.