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J Pediatr Health Care. 2002 Sep-Oct;16(5):213-21.

Attack on America: children's reactions and parents' responses.

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Primary Care Specialization, School of Nursing, Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Mass 02115, USA.



When disaster strikes, as it did September 11, 2001, children react to both the actual event and their parents' distress. The purpose of this study was to find out how children were affected by these recent events and how parents responded to their children's concerns. This study is a sequel to a previous study on parents' and children's perceptions to the President Clinton situation and the Starr Report.


Eighty-eight school-aged children and 51 parents were recruited for this descriptive, qualitative study that used community-based snowball sampling. Parents and children were asked a series of questions about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, including how they heard about it and how it made them feel.


Children's responses indicated feelings of fear about their safety and their future; wanting to take revenge; feeling sad and disappointed; and empathy for the victims. Parents realized they had to comfort their children in spite of their own feelings of dismay. Many parents reported difficulty in reacting to their child's concerns regarding fairness and justice.


Pediatric nurse practitioners need to understand parents' and children's responses to such events in order to provide optimal health care, support, and counseling within the context of normal growth and development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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