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Hurricane Katrina's effects on children: Resilience and gender
Date:7/14/2010

ucted by researchers at the University of Missouri and The Pennsylvania State University, looked at the issue from the perspective of gender. Experiencing distress is a normal part of life, yet males and females have been found to show different patterns of stress reactions in laboratory studies.

In this study, researchers looked at more than 60 teens (ages 12 to 19) who had been displaced by Katrina and were living in a government relocation camp with their families two months after the hurricane. Most of the participants were African American teens from low-income families that had lived in New Orleans. The researchers measured psychological functioning (such as depression and aggression) and two hormone markers of stress regulation (salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase), then compared these with more than 50 adolescents who were demographically similar but lived in a part of the United States that wasn't affected by Katrina.

Male and female teens who experienced the hurricane showed distinct patterns of behavioral stress as well as gender differences in how they regulated physiological stress, the study found. Specifically, compared to the children who weren't exposed to Katrina, girls who survived the hurricane were more depressed and boys showed lower levels of aggression and higher levels of confidence. Heightened stress hormonal reactions were likewise associated with depression in girls and confidence in boys.

In suggesting that males and females develop specialized systems for processing and responding to stress, the study adds to our understanding of normative stress regulation following trauma.


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Contact: Sarah Hutcheon
shutcheon@srcd.org
202-289-7905
Society for Research in Child Development
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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