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Risk and Resilience in Children in the Context of Mass Trauma


Risk and Resilience in Children in the Context of Mass Trauma

Abstract: 

This article explores the extant literature on outcomes of mass trauma in children as well as factors that predict risk and interventions used to enhance resilience and promote recovery. Many children display acute stress reactions after a mass trauma and some will develop chronic symptoms, but most will recover or demonstrate resilience. Children's reactions include posttraumatic stress symptoms, depression, anxiety, and behavior problems. Various factors predict resilience and vulnerability in children after a mass trauma. These include preexisting factors such as the child's demographics, personality, and previous trauma exposure. The type and degree of exposure to the trauma influences outcomes, with direct exposure or loss of loved ones contributing to worse outcomes. The postdisaster environment, including disaster-related disruption and family and social factors, may hinder or enhance a child's recovery. The aforementioned factors may be used to inform assessment of risk and resilience in public and mental health settings in children after a mass trauma. Effective interventions vary based on the child's exposure and symptomology, timing of intervention in relation to the trauma, and the resources available for service provision.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Whaley, Grace L., Vandana Varma, Erin M. Hawks, Robyn Cowperthwaite, Lenore Arlee, and Betty Pfefferbaum. 2020. "Risk and Resilience in Children in the Context of Mass Trauma." Psychiatric Annals (September). https://www.healio.com/psychiatry/journals/psycann/2020-9-50-9/%7Bd6fd8400-f4d9-4c61-8a89-328f861cd308%7D/risk-and-resilience-in-children-in-the-context-of-mass-trauma

START Author(s): 
Betty Pfefferbaum
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