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Media Coverage and Children's Reactions to Disaster with Implications for Primary Care and Public Health


Media Coverage and Children's Reactions to Disaster with Implications for Primary Care and Public Health

Abstract: 

To address the potential for media coverage of traumatic events to generate fear reactions in children, we examined exposure and reactions to media coverage of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in children attending a middle school 100 miles from the disaster site two and three years after the event. Many of the children studied recalled feeling "afraid," "sad," or "mad" in relation to initial media coverage. Overall exposure and reactions to bomb-related media coverage declined over the three years. However, these reactions persisted for some children and, when they did, the reactions were related to exposure to coverage right after the bombing. Approximately one-fourth of the children recalled that the bombing made them feel "a lot" less safe in their home, school, and/or neighborhood. These perceptions persisted for approximately 10% of the children. Our Findings suggest the importance of primary care and public health interventions to determine and monitor children's reactions.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Pfefferbaum, Betty, and Hattie Jeon-Slaughter, Rose Pfefferbaum, J. Brian Houston, Scott Rainwater, James Regens. 2008. "Media Coverage and Children's Reactions to Disaster with Implications for Primary Care and Public Health." Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association (November): 312-317. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19177993

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