Weathering the storm: Children's long-term recall of Hurricane Andrew

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Children who experienced a highly stressful natural disaster, Hurricane Andrew, were interviewed within a few months of the event, when they were 3-4 years old, and again 6 years later, when they were 9-10 years old. Children were grouped into low, moderate, or high stress groups depending on the severity of the experienced storm. All children were able to recall this event in vivid detail 6 years later. In fact, children reported over twice as many propositions at the second interview as at the first. At the initial interview, children in the high stress group reported less information than children in the moderate stress group, but 6 years later, children in all three stress groups reported similar amounts of information. However children in the high stress group needed more questions and prompts than children in the other stress groups. Yet children in the high stress group also reported more consistent information between the two interviews, especially about the storm, than children in the other stress groups. Implications for children's developing memory of stressful events are discussed.



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