Media coverage of disasters can have lasting effects on children’s mental health

In 2018, American children have been exposed to multiple disasters—ravaging wildfires in California, to major Hurricanes in Florida and the Carolinas, and mass shootings in schools and places of worship—all of which have been covered 24/7 by the media. Disaster communication experts at the University of Missouri say disaster media coverage can have lasting effects on children’s mental health and suggest teachers and parents be prepared to respond to questions during and after a catastrophe.

Researchers in the MU Disaster and Community Crisis Center found that teachers and parents might not be prepared to respond to students’ questions and anxieties in the aftermath of natural or human-caused disasters. The coverage can impact children’s mental health, not only in school but in response to future disasters as well.

“Teachers spend seven to eight hours a day with children,” said Jennifer First, program manager at the Disaster and Community Crisis Center and a doctoral candidate in the MU School of Social Work. “They often are the first responders, both directly and indirectly.”

The Disaster and Community Crisis Center developed a step-by-step plan with guidelines on how to discuss disasters with children. They found that teachers commonly don’t know how to answer children’s questions about disasters such as mass shootings or devastating wildfires, or explain why they happen at all.

“Images of disasters stay with kids for a long time,” First said. “That’s why it’s important to be prepared and offer helpful coping methods.”

The researchers surveyed 42 teachers on their preparation in dealing with media coverage of disasters. They also were asked what techniques they felt were needed to help students in dealing with their fears and anxieties. First and her colleagues found that many children bring concern to teachers and parents about why these terrible things happen and what can be done to stop it happening to them. The Disaster and Community Crisis Center includes instructions in their disaster intervention protocols about encouraging safety measures and helping victims. The detailed instructions can be found on their website.

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Maternal stress at conception linked to children’s stress response at age 11

A new study published in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease finds that mothers’ stress levels at the moment they conceive their children are linked to the way children respond to life challenges at age 11. SFU health sciences professor Pablo Nepomnaschy led an interdisciplinary research team on this first cohort study.

Researchers measured cortisol levels from mothers-to-be starting before pregnancy and continuing through the first eight weeks of gestation, and then years later from their children. Their goal is to understand the associations between maternal biological stress around the time of conception and the development of their children’s stress physiology.

Using urine samples to measure reproductive hormones, the researchers identified the day children were conceived, as well as the moms’ cortisol levels, a biomarker of physiological stress, during the first eight weeks after conception.

Twelve years later, they studied how these children reacted to the start of a new school year (a well known “natural” stressor) and to a public-speaking challenge (a frequently used “experimental” stressor).

Maternal cortisol following conception was associated with different facets of the children’s cortisol responses to those challenges, and many of these associations differed between boys and girls.

Study lead author Cindy Barha, who worked under Nepomnaschy as a doctoral student, reports that sons of mothers who had higher cortisol in gestational week two had higher cortisol reactions to the experimental public-speaking challenge, but this association was not observed in daughters. In contrast, mothers with higher cortisol in gestational week five had daughters with higher ‘basal’ cortisol before the start of a new school term, but not sons.

However, both sons and daughters had higher cortisol responses to the start of a new school term, and in response to the experimental public speaking challenge, if their mothers had higher cortisol during gestational week five. The biological mechanisms mediating these associations are not yet known, but are likely to involve genetics and epigenetics as well as environmental and cultural factors shared by moms and their children.

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Germany needs a vaccination?

The EU partners will make gehörig pressure. Italy threatens parents since this summer, with Bußmoney when you your children against zwölf diseases to get vaccinated. A less, so eleven vaccinations, müshot small children under two years of age from 2018, in France, in order to in a öpublic institution &ndash be included; for example, in the Kindergarten.

With these commitments ­the two L&auml respond;on to low vaccination rates and recurring measles-Ausbrüche. Actually amazing that a medical Maßwithdrawal, which is like no other for the protection of the Individual and the community beiträgt, such Zwangsmaßtook üin General demand. But it is a fact: The Impf­­rates – also in this country.

Experts erklären this development with a General Nachläreliability. Thanks to the Impferfolge the past decades, many people know möpossible consequences of threatening diseases no longer – and füthis is not fear. In addition, &shy attacks, ;­unterstüsupported mainly by false reports and misinformation on the Internet, a grundsäadditional skepticism gegen­üabout vaccinations. 

Smallpox: vaccination can eradicate diseases

For many years, the professional Association of child and Jugend&shy denounces;äto doctors this development. "Diseases such as measles and Röstuffs can only be done with a vaccination ausrotten", is the PräPresident Dr. Thomas Fischbach üassured. This möresembled, have shown in the past, the mandatory smallpox vaccination. The PräPresident of the Bundesämedical Board, Professor Ulrich Montgomery, hält a vaccination from a medical-scientific point of view, also für makes sense. But he also says: "You dürfte socially and politically difficult to enforce." 

Purely in legal terms, ließe it can be implemented. "The infection law for the protection of at risk of outbreaks of disease or epidemics, the Einfüimplementation of mandatory vaccination, by regulation vor", erklärt Annett Proud, Fachanwältin für medical law in MüMunich. A vaccination räa umt, you still have no chances: The Federal constitutional court würde this as a violation of the fundamental right of the köphysical integrity, reputation and reject it.  

Vaccination köcould Lüfold in the adult vergrößRen

The easiest way to implement an indirect commitment, such as France now einf&uuml appears;hrt. Children in schools or Kindertagesstäwould m&uuml be included;shot enough against certain infections geschübe protected. Such schemes currently exist in 13 EU member States. In the ücaliber, including Germany, ÖAustria, Holland and the Scandinavian Läfrom talking to experts, only recommendations.

In this country, does the Stäthe full Committee on vaccination (STIKO). Its Chairman, Professor Thomas Mertens, hält a vaccination, not only für hardly enforceable – but also für little sense, even für schäSouth. You würde hartnästorey opponents in their Position bestäTurks and the current Problem is not how to fix: "The threatening Impflücover to be found not in children, but in adolescents and young adults that can not be achieved with a vaccination." Example, Measles: Wäwhile more than 90 percent of the children are in the einschul age vaccinated, is missing – a survey of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) according to – more than 40 percent of 18 – to 44-Jäa vollst&auml men;incomplete protection against the disease.  

This Lücover köcould under ­Umstäeven still vergrößRen, wären vaccinations mandatory. At least the study results by Dr. Cornelia Betsch suspect. "We have examined how a vaccination on the other Impfver­the Concerned hold is in effect." According to the results, lowers the ­Willingness füfurther, voluntary ­­Vaccinations. All or nothing is the conclusion of the Psycho­login to the Universität Erfurt: "Either all of the vaccinations mandatory or voluntary."  

Germany: Improved vaccination rates by Aufklä?

In Germany they are currently still on a voluntary basis – even if the Federal Ministry of health in the Prävention act of 2015, a few small commitments and Zwangsmaßrose has anchored. For example, müparents shot well in the Kita-entry evidence of your child’s vaccinations. They refuse hartnäckig, this, submit, köcan Gesundheitsäoffices Bußfunds of up to 2500 euros verhängen. Darüaddition, köcan unvaccinated children and youth are excluded from community body, if the disease breaks out, against the ge­vaccinates. 

Of these mild Zwangsmaßtook apart, hope experts in this country and provide improved and more Aufkläof – motivated Ädoctors. STIKO Chairman Mertens: "We still need more öpublic campaigns of the Federal centre für health Aufklä. And we need the ­Unterstüestablishment of community-based Ädoctors: If you are systematically with each of their patients the Vaccination abklären, advised and vaccinated, the Lücover schließen. Sure."