Fire Technology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 125–143 | Cite as

Coping Efforts and Efficacy, Acculturation, and Post-Traumatic Symptomatology in Adolescents Following Wildfire

  • Audra K. Langley
  • Russell T. Jones


Recent studies of children and adolescents who have experienced a residential, industrial, or wild fire have suggested a causal link between fire disaster and PTSD related psychological distress. Not everyone, however, is equally affected by the stress of experiencing such an event, and the role of coping in this process may be an important mediating factor.

Additionally, several studies have found that girls and African Americans report more distress following disasters than do boys and Caucasians. The current study sought to investigate the roles of exposure/loss, coping efficacy, and coping strategy in mediating psychological distress in adolescents after a disaster.

The current study included a representative sample of 206 9th graders from a Central Florida High School affected by severe wildfires who were assessed via self-report measures 3- and 10- months after the fires, to assess the explanatory roles of exposure/loss, coping efficacy, and coping strategy on PTSD. Moreover, acculturation level and SES were included along with gender and ethnicity in testing for the moderating role of sociodemographics.

Results indicated an important role for exposure/loss, coping efficacy, and coping strategy as they related to PTSD symptomatology in adolescents at both Time 1 and Time 2. Finally, although relationships between the proposed variables and PTSD did not interact with gender, acculturation, SES, or ethnicity, there was a significant interaction between acculturation and ethnicity signifying that for African American youth, high acculturation levels were predictive of less PTSD symptomatology.

Key words

post traumatic stress disorder adolescents coping self efficacy acculturation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia Tech UniversityBlacksburg
  2. 2.Stress and Coping Lab

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