Changes in children's peer interactions following a natural disaster: How predisaster bullying and victimization rates changed following Hurricane Katrina

Andrew M. Terranova, Paul Boxer, Amanda Sheffield Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Youth exposed to disasters experience stress and adjustment difficulties, which likely influence their interactions with peers. In this study, we examined changes in bullying and peer victimization in two cohorts of children. Youth from an area affected by Hurricane Katrina were assessed preand postdisaster (n = 96, mean [M] = 10.9 years old, 53% female), and a comparison group from a nearby area was assessed over the same time interval 1 year prior (n = 120, M = 10.2 years old, 52% female). Within the hurricane group, relations between symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with bullying and victimization also were examined. Following the hurricane, the hurricane group reported increased relational and overt bullying relative to the nonhurricane group, and PTSD symptoms predicted increased victimization. Thus, school personnel should be vigilant and prepared to respond to increased bullying following disasters and for increased victimization in youth experiencing PTSD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-347
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2009


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