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Keywords:

  • disaster;
  • PTSD;
  • fears;
  • school-age children;
  • parents

Abstract

This study evaluated children's symptoms 3 and 9 months after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and the relationship between parent and child reactions when only the children had been in the building. Nine children who had been trapped in an elevator, 13 who had been on the observation deck, and 27 controls completed the Posttraumatic Stress Reaction Index and a Fear Inventory. Parents completed these measures about the children and comparable measures about themselves. Exposed children reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and disaster-related fears; their parents reported experiencing PTSD symptoms. Only parents rated children's symptoms as decreasing significantly over time. Association between child symptoms and parent symptoms increased over time. Children's initial distress predicted parents' distress 9 months postdisaster.