Young children are more likely to only experience low post-traumatic stress after a natural disaster

According to a team at Boston College, their new research uncovered low post-traumatic stress among young children exposed to a natural disaster.

Released in JAMA Network Open, the study included more than 1,700 American children who experienced the following four tropical cyclones at landfall: Hurricane Andrew, Charley, Ike, or Katrina, occurring from 1992 through 2008.

“This cohort study of 1707 US youths exposed to major hurricanes identified 4 PTS symptom trajectories: chronic (10%), recovery (23%), moderate-stable (33%), and low-decreasing (34%). Female and younger youths experienced more severe PTS symptom trajectories,” researchers wrote in their findings.

The results showed that few young children reported exhibiting chronic distress after a natural disaster, with most only reporting low post-traumatic stress.

From the findings: “In this cohort study, few youths reported chronic distress, and trajectories among most youths reflected recovery or low-decreasing PTS symptoms. Older age and identification as male were factors associated with decreased odds of a chronic trajectory. Youths with chronic or moderate-stable trajectories may benefit from intervention.”

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