Alleviating posttraumatic stress in children following hurricane Andrew

Tiffany Field, Susan Seligman, Frank Scafidi, Saul Schanberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Sixty grade-school children who showed classroom behavior problems following Hurricane Andrew were given massage therapy on 8 days 1 month after the hurricane. Scores on the PTSD Reaction Index suggest that the children were experiencing severe posttraumatic stress. As compared to a video attention control group, the children who received massage therapy reported being happier and less anxious and had lower salivary cortisol levels after the therapy. In addition, the massage therapy group showed more sustained changes as manifested by lower scores on the Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale, The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, and self-drawings, and were observed to be more relaxed. These positive effects were promising given the persistence of PTSD symptoms noted for children who have not received intervention following disasters such as hurricanes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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