Elementary school children's responses 3 months after the September 11 terrorist attacks: a study in Washington, DC

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2004 Oct;74(4):509-28. doi: 10.1037/0002-9432.74.4.509.


This study examined the responses of elementary school children in Washington, DC, to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Parents (primarily mothers) of children in kindergarten through Grade 6 and children in Grades 4 to 6, including 47 matched parent-child pairs, completed questionnaires regarding exposure, stress reactions, and constructive actions taken 3 months after the attacks. Parent reports and, to an even greater extent, children's self-reports revealed high levels of negative reactions to the attacks on behalf of the children. These reactions were best understood in the context of their exposure to the attacks, primarily through television news, and the reactions of and coping assistance provided by their parents. Implications for school personnel, health care professionals, and intervention efforts are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aircraft
  • Child
  • District of Columbia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Students / psychology
  • Television
  • Terrorism*
  • Virginia