The purpose is to better understand the long-term effects that natural disasters can have on children, their parents and the family.
New interview survey among children and adults who experienced the tsunami, after 2 1/2 years.
1.In the first study, 183 parents responded (questionnaire) in summer 2005 concerning 319 children’s acute and current reactions. In the questionnaire it was desired to gain more knowledge about the parents’ and children’s state of health in order to learn more about the factors leading to posttraumatic stress reactions.
The parents were asked about:
- Their own reactions to the tsunami and their current state of mental health
- The children’s acute reactions and their current state of mental health
2. In the second study, 89 parents and 146 children were interviewed in their homes in autumn 2005 by psychologists, psychiatrists and educators concerning their experiences of the tsunami and how it has affected their daily lives. The interview study focused on children and the family as a care situation and how this can contribute to good psychological development processes after trauma, and what can make such processes difficult.
We were interested in finding out more about:
- The way the catastrophe has affected daily life in the family.
- What the children had experienced and how they described their experiences.
- How the children coped with and attached meaning to the events
- The extent to which exposed adolescents had changed their world views
- The needs that parents found the children had and the way in which the parents related to these needs
- The children’s and parents’ state of health 10 months after the event
- How parents and children think the school handled the situation
3. The third study was a follow-up of the earlier interviews with children in summer 2007, when 107 children and 68 parents were interviewed. The follow-up study focused on the long-term effects that a natural disaster may have for children and their parents.
Among other things, they were asked about:
- The children’s and parents’ state of health 2 ½ years after the tsunami
- Changes in attitudes towards themselves, other people and the world around them
- Parents’ mastery in meeting the children’s need for help
Despite the fact that many of the families were strongly affected by the tsunami, the interviewers were met in a highly positive and cooperative manner by parents and their children. Many felt it was good to be able to tell their story without interference, and everyone felt that it was important to be able to share their experiences so that the authorities and health personnel are able to be better prepared in the event of new disasters.