Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children, teens at risk for lasting emotional impact from Hurricane Sandy

Date:
November 6, 2012
Source:
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)
Summary:
The unseen emotional aftershocks of Hurricane Sandy may linger for children who were in the storm's path. A psychologist discusses why children may experience PTSD and how parents and caregivers can help.

After Hurricane Sandy's flood waters have receded and homes demolished by the storm repaired, the unseen aftershocks of the storm may linger for many children who were in the storm's path, particularly those whose families suffered significant losses.

"The lasting emotional impact of a storm like this can be more devastating than the physical damage the storm caused," says psychologist Esther Deblinger, PhD, the co-director of the Child Abuse Research, Education and Service (CARES) Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine. "Stress, anxiety and depression can affect anyone who experiences a natural disaster that results in the sudden loss of home or relocation to unfamiliar surroundings. The effect can be especially troubling on children and adolescents who don't have the same ability as adults to anticipate and cope with trauma."

According to Dr. Deblinger, some children who experienced Hurricane Sandy's destruction will exhibit symptoms -- such as withdrawal, depression, sleeplessness and unusually aggressive behavior -- that are commonly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Without help, there is a risk that these symptoms could last a lifetime.

Dr. Deblinger suggests that parents and caregivers help children cope with the stress and anxiety resulting from Hurricane Sandy by:

• Returning to normal routines, if possible, and engaging in rituals such as bedtime stories and family meals that that are comforting for children.

• Minimizing the viewing of television coverage about the storm as the news can provoke anxiety in young people.

• Encouraging optimism about managing the aftermath of the storm and preparing for the future.

• Remembering that, because they are their children's most important role models, it is important for parents and caregivers to take care of themselves and engage in healthy coping strategies.

• Reaching out for professional help if the trauma stress symptoms exhibited by their children do not subside over time on their own.

"While most children are resilient and will bounce back from the experience, others are going to need help to recover and feel safe again," Dr. Deblinger says. "In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we saw that the children who were most vulnerable to developing anxiety, and even PTSD or depression, had either experienced other significant trauma or emotional difficulties in their past, or had parents who were having difficulty coping with the effects of the storm."

Dr. Deblinger says her recommendation that parents and guardians seek professional help for children whose symptoms do not subside is especially important. "Decades of research have shown that some children, particularly those who have experienced multiple trauma(s), don't eventually 'get over' or 'outgrow' their experiences," she notes. "Left to recover on their own, some children and adolescents may turn to alcohol, drugs and/or other ineffective ways of coping with the distressing feelings and debilitating symptoms associated with PTSD."

In 2005, Dr. Deblinger made several trips to the Gulf region to help children recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and to train other therapists in the use of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), a treatment model that she developed with Drs. Judith Cohen and Anthony Mannarino. TF-CBT has been used worldwide to help children overcome stress disorders caused by a variety of traumas, including the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). "Children, teens at risk for lasting emotional impact from Hurricane Sandy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106114044.htm>.
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). (2012, November 6). Children, teens at risk for lasting emotional impact from Hurricane Sandy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106114044.htm
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). "Children, teens at risk for lasting emotional impact from Hurricane Sandy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106114044.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
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