Jonathan S. Comer is now at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Terrorism: The Psychological Impact on Youth
Article first published online: 23 JUL 2007
Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice
Volume 14, Issue 3, pages 179–212, September 2007
How to Cite
Comer, J. S. and Kendall, P. C. (2007), Terrorism: The Psychological Impact on Youth. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 14: 179–212. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2850.2007.00078.x
- Issue published online: 23 JUL 2007
- Article first published online: 23 JUL 2007
- Received September 4, 2006; revised October 11, 2006; accepted October 11, 2006.
- secondhand terrorism;
Research on the psychological impact of terrorism on youth is reviewed and evaluated. Children having proximal contact with terrorism show elevated posttraumatic stress, separation anxiety, and/or other symptoms. Following a terrorist attack, youth proximal and distal to the attack are exposed to a vast amount of attack-related media coverage and exposure to such media coverage is associated with postattack posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology. However, the research is inchoate, including an insufficient scope and methodological limitations. Research has yet to examine the impact that exposure to an extended context of threat, expectation, and alert has on child development. Importantly, how are children influenced by secondhand terrorism—the context in which cultural influences disproportionately attend to the possibilities, rather than probabilities, of future terrorism? Research is needed to evaluate the impact of terrorism on psychopathology (beyond PTSD), functional impairment, and ethnic stereotyping in youth, and to examine the efficacy of psychological programs that strive to redress the problems of youth affected by terrorism.