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Stress

Research articles about stress.

Children and Disasters: What You Need to Know

Danielle Z. Kassow, Ph.D.

Cason and grandmaHurricanes, earthquakes, war, terrorism, school shootings. We know how scary these events feel as adults, but how do they affect our youngest citizens, our children? Disasters, whether human-made or natural, have a significant effect on the health and emotional well-being of children (Madrid, Grant, Reilly, & Redlener, 2006). It has been one year since Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of so many and five years since September 11 forever left its imprint on all of our lives. As I reflect on the anniversary of these disasters I am reminded that post-disaster effects may not surface until long after the occurrence of the event and can last for years (Madrid et al., 2006). Although these events seem long ago, children continue to need support.

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Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain

Center on the Developing Child  Harvard University

StressScience tells us that experiences early in life may have long-term consequences for a child’s learning, behavior and both physical and mental health.

Some types of “positive stress” in a child’s life (overcoming the challenges and frustrations of learning a new, difficult task, for instance) can be beneficial. On the other hand, severe, uncontrollable, chronic adversity (defined as “toxic stress” ) can produce detrimental effects on developing brain architecture as well as on the chemical and physiological systems that help an individual adapt to stressful events.

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