The graphic nature of the attack at the Boston Marathon can be difficult for many to process, and that includes young people.
Whether or not they were physically there at the bombing, children can be profoundly affected by what they hear and see. It can be normal to notice some anxiety and fear after an event like the marathon bombing, Dr. Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, explained to CBSNews.com.The most important thing is that someone will be there for them — because they’ll be turning to the adults in their life and their peer for answers and support.
Children who might have experienced a traumatic event in the past — should especially be watched after events like Monday’s tragedy because they may go through retraumatization right away — even if they weren’t physically at marathon. A study in November 2012 in Psychological Science showed that children who had lived in areas hard hit by Hurricane Katrina who had PTSD symptoms were more likely to experience PTSD again the more Hurricane Gustav coverage they watched.
“I certainly saw it in 9/11 when people heard airplanes or when they became anxious because the airplane was flying low,” Hifler said. “It’s not the fact that people become anxious a little bit about it. It’s when anxiety begins to interfere with their daily functions, when they’re not interacting in the community or at school.”
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