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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2003 Jun;5(2):95-100.

Children's response to terrorism: a critical review of the literature.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73190, USA.


The advent of major terrorist assaults has ushered in a sense of insecurity and vulnerability heretofore unknown in the US. There is information about the impact of disasters and trauma on children, but relatively little data on the effects of terrorism. The events of September 11, 2001 have underscored the need to examine this issue. This report summarizes recent studies that address the impact of terrorist incidents on children, and examines issues related to mental health services for children in the post-attack environment. Work related to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the 1998 bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, and the September 11 attacks are reviewed. This article indicates significant challenges in the identification, evaluation, and treatment of children potentially in need of attention.

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