Evaluation of Identified Stressors in Children and Adolescents
After Super Storm Sandy
Margaret Quinn, Diane Gillooly, Sarah Kelly, John Kolassa,
Elizabeth Davis, and Stephane Jankowski
Super Storm Sandy, one of the largest storms endured by the East Coast of theUnited States, devastated New Jersey and the eastern seaboard. Although naturaldisasters affect individuals of all ages, children are particularly vulnerable becausetheir sense of normalcy is altered. The purpose of this study was to explore theeffects that exposure to Super Storm Sandy had on children who resided in NewJersey. This was a non-experimental, quantitative, cross-sectional research study.Study participants were recruited via printed flyers at disaster resource sites and ona dedicated research teamís Facebook site. Each participant completed theHurricane Stressors Assessment Tool for Children and Adolescents as a webbasedsurvey related to their experiences with the hurricane. One hundred andforty-one (141) children participated in this study. Age groups (preschool, child, andadolescent) had varied results based upon developmental level. Age was positivelyassociated with finding it harder to concentrate and pay attention (r = 0.18, p =0.04); feeling sad, down, or depressed (r = 0.17, p < 0.05); being quiet and withdrawn (r = 0.16, p = 0.05); feeling irritable and grouchy (r = 0.26, p < 0.05); and findingit harder to complete schoolwork (r = 0.32, p < 0.001). Certain parental perceptionsof their childís behavior were negatively associated with the age of the child.Children had varying degrees of experiences after Sandy. Adolescents were shownto be more aware and affected by the storm than younger children. Observationscan be used for intervention initiatives in the post-natural disaster period, encouraginghealthcare providers to acknowledge family and community healing to provideadequate mental health referrals in the post-disaster period.