The impact of terrorism on children: Considerations for a new era
Terrorism is an extreme form of violent trauma made worse by being of human design. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States and the entire world entered into a new era in history. As much as adults seek to protect children from harm, their lives are too often touched by trauma, including terrorism. It is essential to examine and synthesize the findings of previous research regarding terrorism and trauma in order to guide our mental health work with children and families, particularly in the aftermath of recent terrorist events. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms in children affected by terrorism are high, with other common long-term consequences such as depression, anxiety, behavior, and developmental problems. Terrorism also raises unique trauma consequences for children. How children responded after the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is reviewed in this paper. Although children of all ages had and have reactions to the terrorist traumas, these may be mediated by different variables. Furthermore, the new threat of invisible agent attacks may further complicate trauma reactions in children. Research and interventions with children must be conducted on all levels (individual, family, school, community, and public policy) to effectively meet the needs of our next generation. © 2002 by The Haworth Press, Inc.
Gurwitch, RH; Pfefferbaum, B; Leftwich, MJT
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