Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Parental Factors Drove Kids' Behavioral Reactions to Attacks. (Survey of 475 New York City Parents)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Parental Factors Drove Kids' Behavioral Reactions to Attacks. (Survey of 475 New York City Parents)

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The emotional well-being of New York City children after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center depended in large part on how strongly their parents were affected by the event and how well their parents coped with it, Jennifer Stuber, Ph.D., said at a conference on the health consequences of terrorism, sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine.

Parental mental health, rather than children's behavior problems, largely determined whether children received counseling and other services, and the needs of some youngsters in this area apparently went unmet, she said.

In a number of ways, the impact of the disaster was more profound on parents than nonparents, and the consequences were particularly severe for single parents, said Dr. Stuber, a research associate with the division of health and science policy at the academy.

She reported data from a telephone survey of 2,011 adults in New York (506 of whom lived in Manhattan south of 110th Street) undertaken in January and February 2002. The 475 parents in the sample were each queried about the behavior of one child. The survey included data on roughly equal numbers of children aged 6-11 and 12-17 years, one-third of whom resided in single-parent households.

Data on the adults themselves suggested that parents were more severely affected by the terrorist attack than nonparents: They were more likely to lose jobs, health insurance, or income; to increase smoking or drinking; and to display symptoms consistent with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. …

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