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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Aug;76(4):568-78. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.76.4.568.

Children and terrorism-related news: training parents in Coping and Media Literacy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University/NYSPI, Division of Child Psychiatry, New York, NY 10032, USA. comerj@childpsych.columbia.edu

Abstract

This study examined associations between televised news regarding risk for future terrorism and youth outcomes and investigated the effects of training mothers in an empirically based approach to addressing such news with children. This approach--Coping and Media Literacy (CML)--emphasized modeling, media literacy, and contingent reinforcement and was compared via randomized design to Discussion as Usual (DAU). Ninety community youth (aged 7-13 years) and their mothers viewed a televised news clip about the risk of future terrorism, and threat perceptions and state anxiety were assessed preclip, postclip, and postdiscussion. Children responded to the clip with elevated threat perceptions and anxiety. Children of CML-trained mothers exhibited lower threat perceptions than DAU youth at postclip and at postdiscussion. Additionally, CML-trained mothers exhibited lower threat perceptions and state anxiety at postclip and postdiscussion than did DAU mothers. Moreover, older youth responded to the clip with greater societal threat perception than did younger youth. Findings document associations between terrorism-related news, threat perceptions, and anxiety and support the utility of providing parents with strategies for addressing news with children. Implications and research suggestions are discussed.

Copyright 2008 APA, all rights reserved.

PMID:
18665686
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2728460
Free PMC Article

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