Preschool children’s adjustment following a hurricane: Risk and resilience in the face of adversity

Andrew M. Terranova, Amanda Sheffield Morris, Sonya Myers, Mumbe Kithakye, Michael D.S. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Research Findings: It is clear that disasters negatively affect both adults and children. Yet there is little research examining the mechanisms whereby some people are negatively affected by disasters whereas others are resilient to these negative effects. Family functioning and child characteristics might be factors that influence the impact of disasters on young children. We tested this premise in a sample of 118 children living in an area affected by a Category 3 hurricane, with 47 of these children participating before and after the hurricane. Results indicated that disaster experiences and emotion regulation are predictors of adjustment following natural disasters. Findings also suggested that the effects of disaster experiences on children’s adjustment are sometimes indirect through their impact on parental depression and parent hostility. Practice or Policy: These findings indicate that working to minimize the likelihood of parent–child separations during disasters could reduce the negative effects of disasters on children. In addition, promoting better emotional regulatory abilities in young children may help them to be more resilient when experiencing natural disasters, and providing parents with the support they need to more effectively parent may also decrease the likelihood that children will experience adjustment difficulties following disasters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-548
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015


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