Effects of extreme weather events on child mood and behavior

Jennifer L. Barkin, Massimiliano Buoli, Carolann Lee Curry, Silke A. von Esenwein, Saswati Upadhyay, Maggie Bridges Kearney, Katharine Mach

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Extreme weather events (EWEs) are increasing in frequency and severity as the planet continues to become warmer. Resulting disasters have the potential to wreak havoc on the economy, infrastructure, family unit, and human health. Global estimates project that children will be disproportionately impacted by the changing climate – shouldering 88% of the related burdens. Exposure to EWEs in childhood is traumatic, with ramifications for mental health specifically. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety have all been associated with childhood EWE exposure and have the potential to persist under certain circumstances. Conversely, many childhood survivors of EWE also demonstrate resilience and experience only transient symptoms. While the majority of studies are focused on the effects resulting from one specific type of disaster (hurricanes), we have synthesized the literature across the various types of EWEs. We describe psychological symptoms and behavior, the potential for long-term effects, and potential protective factors and risk factors. What this paper adds Climate change-related phenomena such as extreme weather events (EWEs) have the potential to impact mood and behavior in children. Posttraumatic stress (PTS) is the most common mental health consequence in child survivors of EWEs. PTS is often comorbid with depression and/or anxiety in this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-790
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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