Disclosure of internal states terms (e.g., emotions, cognitions, and perceptions) in traumatic event descriptions is thought to be associated with physical and mental health in adults, but studies with children have been mixed, and the interpretation of many findings is complicated by the lack of longitudinal data. Using data collected from 568 students (ages 7-12years) attending schools in Miami-Dade County, Florida, this study examined the internal states language in participant's written descriptions of the 'worst things that happened during the hurricane' collected 3 and 7months after Hurricane Andrew. Associations between these internal states and their posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) 3, 7, and 10months post-hurricane were evaluated using structural equation modeling. Patterns of association suggest that PTSS were not affected by internal states disclosure; rather, internal states language seemed to be a manifestation of PTSS. Implications for risk assessment, theory building, and treatment of PTSS in children are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)