The effects of stress on young children's memory for a natural disaster
Date of this Version
The effects of stress on children's long-term memory for a major hurricane were studied. Stress was objectively defined as low, moderate, or high according to the severity of damage to the child's home. One hundred 3-and 4-year-old children received a structured interview 2-6 months following the hurricane. Older children recalled and elaborated more than younger children. Prompted recall was greater than spontaneous recall. There was a quadratic function, consistent with an inverted U-shaped curve, relating storm severity with overall as well as spontaneous recall. These findings can be applied to the effects of stress on the amount recalled by children giving retrospective accounts of temporally extended, naturalistic events.
Bahrick, Lorraine E.; Parker, Janat Fraser; Fivush, Robyn; and Levitt, Mary, "The effects of stress on young children's memory for a natural disaster" (1998). Department of Psychology. 60.