The psychological consequences of terrorism among child victims

Systematic review of the psychological consequences of terrorism among child victims

From International Review of Victimology

Terrorist acts such as 9/11 and the recent Boston Marathon incident have understandably shocked and devastated the American public and the wider world. Terrorist acts have an enormous potential to produce trauma, especially in vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents. Few studies have analysed the potentially adverse effects of terrorism on child victims. This paper systematically reviews the literature on the psychological consequences which exposure to acts of terrorism can have for children. The aim of the review is to present the main results of published studies in this frequently neglected area, hence becoming a useful contribution to the field of children and terrorist violence.

 

Abstract

Terrorist acts have an enormous potential to produce trauma, especially in vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents. However, few studies have analysed the potentially adverse effects of terrorism on child victims. The present article systematically reviews the literature on the psychological consequences which exposure to acts of terrorism can have for children. A total of 54 publications were reviewed, the majority originating from the USA (72.22%) and linked to the 9/11 attacks in New York (50%). Most of the studies analysed post-traumatic symptoms (64.81%) in children who were indirect victims through exposure to media reports about the attack (33.33%). There is a need for trained professionals to work with child victims of terrorism; they must be able to recognize the symptoms associated with these experiences, as well as the damaging effects they may have on children.

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Article details
Pereda, N. (2013). Systematic review of the psychological consequences of terrorism among child victims International Review of Victimology, 19 (2), 181-199 DOI: 10.1177/0269758012472771

     
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