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Helping Children Cope With Disasters and Terrorism

American Psychological Association

June 1, 2002

Helping Children Cope With Disasters and Terrorism offers psychotherapists and others involved in emergency response the most comprehensive, up-to-date information available on the immediate and lasting effects of trauma on children and adolescents. Until recently, it was assumed that children do not display significant clinical reactions in the aftermath of disasters or, if they do, the reactions are fleeting and leave no emotional scars. Yet, as volume editors Annette M. La Greca, Wendy K. Silverberg, Eric M. Vernberg, and Michael C. Roberts demonstrate, children and adolescents do have significant reactions that can interfere with their current and future psychological adjustment. Who is most at risk, and what can be done to help?

This book reviews the research and intervention literature on a broad range of natural and man-made disasters, from floods and house-fires to acts of terrorism and war. Chapter authors document children's reactions, identifying factors that may predict or, alternatively, buffer against severe trauma responses. Descriptions of preparatory and post-disaster coping materials and interventions developed for use with children are included. In addition to setting the research agenda and paving the way for theory and model building in this evolving field, this volume has a strong practical emphasis, offering strategies for when and how to intervene, based on clinical observation and empirical evidence.