Attention and memory in school-age children surviving the terrorist attack in Beslan, Russia

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2009 May;38(3):402-14. doi: 10.1080/15374410902851689.


Little is known about the impact of terrorism on children's cognitive functioning and school learning. The primary purpose of this study was to report on cognitive functioning among school-age children 20 months after a terrorist attack against their school. Participants included 203 directly and indirectly exposed children from Beslan and 100 nonexposed children from another town of the Russian Federation. All children were tested using nonverbal neuropsychological measures of attention, memory, and visual-spatial performance. Predisaster traumatic events and terrorism-related exposure factors were evaluated. Findings revealed that overall, directly and indirectly exposed children performed significantly less well than controls in all domains. In addition, direct exposure and loss of a family member were associated with poor memory performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Attention*
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Space Perception
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Terrorism / psychology*
  • Visual Perception