Predicting posttraumatic phenomena in children with anxiety disorder following Hurricane Andrew: A test of a conceptual model

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Donald Routh, Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Wendy Silverman, Committee Member


This study used an adaptation of a conceptual model to predict emotional distress and PTSD reactions six months after Hurricane Andrew in a sample of 28 children who had been previously diagnosed as having a DSM-III-R anxiety disorder (predominantly phobia, either simple or social). The model included four primary factors: exposure to the trauma, child's pre-disaster psychopathology, parent's anxiety reaction to the trauma, and the child's attempts to cope with this event. The overall model accounted for 62% of the variance in child reported PTSD symptoms. Although general anxiety scores and PTSD symptoms were mild in this sample, the children did report an increase in stimuli-specific related fears after the hurricane, supporting the existence of a fear generalization gradient. This specific post-disaster response closely mirrors the original phobic psychopathology present in the majority of these children. Implications of these findings are discussed, including the recommendation to broaden the current scope of post-disaster assessment in children.


Health Sciences, Mental Health; Education, Guidance and Counseling; Psychology, Clinical

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