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What influences a child's long-term reaction to a disaster?

Not all children respond to disaster in the same way. Some might have more severe, longer-lasting reactions that are influenced by the following factors:

  • Direct exposure to the disaster: Whether they were evacuated or saw people injured or dying would affect them, as would being injured themselves or feeling their own lives were threatened.
  • Loss: The death or major injury of a family member, close friend or pet
  • Ongoing stress from the effects of disaster: This includes being away from home, losing contact with friends and neighbors and losing things that were important to them, like a favorite toy or access to a playground. Their lives are disrupted when they no longer have a usual meeting place or their routines and living conditions change.
  • A prior experience of trauma: This would include having experienced or observed abuse, or having lived through a previous major disaster.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.