Mom’s Mental State Influenced Kids’ Well-Being After 9/11: Study


Jenifer Goodwin
Businessweek
July 16, 2010

For New York City preschoolers, having a mother with lingering mental health issues after the 9/11 attacks influenced how they fared emotionally more than whether the children had actually witnessed the attacks, a new study finds.

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Kids whose mothers struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression after the 2001 assault on the World Trade Center were more likely to have behavioral problems three years later than children whose moms coped better with the attacks, the researchers said.

“With young kids, you have two possible sources of trauma: what they experienced directly, and how they react to the impact on their mother from what she experienced,” said lead study author Claude Chemtob, director of the Family Trauma Research Program at New York University. “What we learned was, in fact, that if the mom’s experience with 9/11 led to her having depression or PTSD, it had more of an impact than whether the kids saw it or not.”

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