Post-Traumatic Syndromes in Childhood and Adolescence: A Handbook of Research and Practice

By Vittoria Ardino | Go to book overview

Chapter Fourteen
Helping Children after Mass Disaster:
Using a Comprehensive Trauma
Center and School Support

Brigitte Lueger-Schuster


Introduction

Major disasters can strike children of all ages leading to phased psychosocial responses: the event, the evolution of the event, parental and siblings’ reactions to the event, teachers’ response, availability of social support, and the child’s individual characteristics, such as resilience and vulnerability.

How children cope with disasters influences their mental functioning as children and as adults. This chapter presents an overview of psychosocial interventions in mass disasters underpinned by scientific findings, and provides an example of the intervention model, which was adopted by the author in the aftermath of the Beslan1 massacre.


The impact of mass disasters on children

Children respond to trauma in a different way from adults. As stated elsewhere in this book, ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems; WHO, 2005) and DSM-IV (APA, 1994) offer diagnostic criteria to classify trauma-related disorders; however both

1 Project holder: Hilfswerk Austria, financed by Austria Developmental Agency (ADA), leader of expert team: Katharina Purtscher; visiting experts: Maria Steinbauer, Peter Ruggenthaler, Brigitte Lueger-Schuster. Duration of Austrian funding: 2004–2006.

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