This study examined whether exposure to Hurricane Sandy-related stressors altered children's brain response to emotional information. An average of 8 months (Mage = 9.19) before and 9 months after (Mage = 10.95) Hurricane Sandy, 77 children experiencing high (n = 37) and low (n = 40) levels of hurricane-related stress exposure completed a task in which the late positive potential, a neural index of emotional reactivity, was measured in response to pleasant and unpleasant, compared to neutral, images. From pre- to post-Hurricane Sandy, children with high stress exposure failed to show the same decrease in emotional reactivity to unpleasant versus neutral stimuli as those with low stress exposure. Results provide compelling evidence that exposure to natural disaster-related stressors alters neural emotional reactivity to negatively valenced information.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology