chapter  3
24 Pages

Effects of Stress on Children's Memory for a Natural Disaster

In this chapter we explore the effects of stress on children's recall of events surrounding Hurricane Andrew, a Class IV hurricane with 175 miles per hour winds. On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated much of southern Dade County in Florida. It caused over $20 billion in property damage and affected the lives of families and young children for months to come. This event provided a forum for addressing many of the questions and issues raised by current developmental research on children's memory and its relation to stress, in a naturalistic, personally relevant, and highly emotional event context. It thus provided a unique opportunity for us to determine to what extent findings of laboratory and field studies generalize to traumatic naturalistic events.