Stressing memory: Long-term relations among children's stress, recall and psychological outcomes following hurricane Andrew

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We examined relations among stress, children's recall, and psychological functioning following Hurricane Andrew. Thirty-five children from mixed socioeconomic backgrounds were divided into low-, moderate-, and high-stress groups and were interviewed about the hurricane immediately after the storm and 6 years later. Our primary interest, stemming from previous work, was in the emotional and cognitive content of their recall. At the initial interviews, children who were more stressed included less positive emotion and fewer cognitive processing words and provided less free recall and less information overall. In contrast, children who initially recalled more information showed better psychological outcome immediately following the hurricane. Six years later, children who had been more stressed initially included more negative emotion and more cognitive processing words, but provided less information during free recall. Children who had initially used more positive emotion words and recalled more information showed better psychological outcome 6 years later. Implications for children's remembering and coping with traumatic events are discussed. Copyright © 2005, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.



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