Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hurricane Katrina's effects on children: Resilience and gender

Date:
July 15, 2010
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
Two studies examining stress in children affected by Hurricane Katrina found that stress responses were influenced by various factors. The first study, of 400 mostly white students, found that while many children were stress-resistant and lacked psychological problems three years after the hurricane, more than 25 percent of the children still had significant trauma symptoms after three years. The second study, looking at 60 mostly African-American teens, found distinct patterns of stress responses based on gender.

Rebuilding schools after Hurricane Katrina and providing supportive environments and relationships have helped many children reduce their levels of overall trauma from the hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast in August 2005, according to a new study. A second study found that girls had distinct stress reactions from boys in the aftermath of the storm.

The studies appear in a special section on children and disaster in the July/August 2010 issue of the journal Child Development.

In a longitudinal study of recovery patterns of children affected by Katrina, researchers at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and the St. Bernard Parish Public Schools looked at 400 mostly White elementary- and high-school-aged children (from ages 9 to 18) between 2005 and 2008. The children lived in a New Orleans school district that was heavily damaged by the hurricane.

When the researchers looked at the children two and three years after Katrina hit, they found that overall trauma symptoms (such as feeling depressed, sad, nervous, and having trouble concentrating and sleeping) had decreased. Furthermore, 45 percent of the children were found to be resistant to stress and lacked long-term psychological problems. The children's strengths, the researchers found, were largely the result of rebuilt schools (St. Bernard Parish reopened within 2-1/2 months of the hurricane) and supportive relationships (including the classmates students interacted with when they returned to school).

But this work in progress also found that more than a quarter of the children continued to have significant trauma symptoms of post-traumatic stress and depression three years later. Children who reported these symptoms were more likely to be younger, female, have seen a mental health professional, and also report family or school problems. They also reported being exposed to more traumas.

A second study on children affected by Katrina, conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri and The Pennsylvania State University, looked at the issue from the perspective of gender. Experiencing distress is a normal part of life, yet males and females have been found to show different patterns of stress reactions in laboratory studies.

In this study, researchers looked at more than 60 teens (ages 12 to 19) who had been displaced by Katrina and were living in a government relocation camp with their families two months after the hurricane. Most of the participants were African American teens from low-income families that had lived in New Orleans. The researchers measured psychological functioning (such as depression and aggression) and two hormone markers of stress regulation (salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase), then compared these with more than 50 adolescents who were demographically similar but lived in a part of the United States that wasn't affected by Katrina.

Male and female teens who experienced the hurricane showed distinct patterns of behavioral stress as well as gender differences in how they regulated physiological stress, the study found. Specifically, compared to the children who weren't exposed to Katrina, girls who survived the hurricane were more depressed and boys showed lower levels of aggression and higher levels of confidence. Heightened stress hormonal reactions were likewise associated with depression in girls and confidence in boys.

In suggesting that males and females develop specialized systems for processing and responding to stress, the study adds to our understanding of normative stress regulation following trauma.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Mindy E. Kronenberg, Tonya Cross Hansel, Adrianne M. Brennan, Howard J. Osofsky, Joy D. Osofsky, and Beverly Lawrason. Children of Katrina: Lessons Learned About Postdisaster Symptoms and Recovery Patterns. Child Development, 2010; 81 (4): 1241 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01465.x
  2. Jacob M. Vigil, David C. Geary, Douglas A. Granger and Mark V. Flinn. Sex Differences in Salivary Cortisol, Alpha-Amylase, and Psychological Functioning Following Hurricane Katrina. Child Development, 2010; 81 (4): 1228 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01464.x

Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Hurricane Katrina's effects on children: Resilience and gender." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715090643.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2010, July 15). Hurricane Katrina's effects on children: Resilience and gender. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715090643.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Hurricane Katrina's effects on children: Resilience and gender." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715090643.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

AP (July 25, 2014) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe toured the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort on the Chesapeake Bay today, a day after it was hit by a tornado. The storm claimed two lives and injured dozens of others. (July 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins