While long-term disadvantageous consequences of experiencing natural disasters for mental health are well documented, less is known on how emotional representations of such events are influenced, especially for children. We explored the role of personal experience and age for primary school children’s emotions associated with earthquakes, after two years. We hypothesized that emotional richness was higher for children who experienced them and with age. We involved 127 second- and fifth-graders, who were living next to the epicentre of the 2012 Emilia Romagna earthquake (experimental group) or about 80 kilometres far (control group) when it happened. We proposed a semi-structured interview, focused on knowledge of earthquakes and associated emotions, and a task on the intensity of 4 negative emotions. We also measured emotional understanding and regulation abilities, not differing in the two groups. Analyses of variance revealed that the number of emotional terms and variety of their antecedents (natural, biological, human technological, human non-technological, affective, and cognitive) spontaneously reported was higher for the experimental group for older children. Intensity of fear, anxiety, sadness, and anger was higher for the experimental group at all ages. Notwithstanding limitations, we documented the role played by personal experience of natural disasters in shaping children’s later emotional representations, with useful hints for prevention at an applied level.

Emotions associated with earthquakes two years later: The role of personal experience and age for primary school children

RACCANELLO, Daniela;
2015-01-01

Abstract

While long-term disadvantageous consequences of experiencing natural disasters for mental health are well documented, less is known on how emotional representations of such events are influenced, especially for children. We explored the role of personal experience and age for primary school children’s emotions associated with earthquakes, after two years. We hypothesized that emotional richness was higher for children who experienced them and with age. We involved 127 second- and fifth-graders, who were living next to the epicentre of the 2012 Emilia Romagna earthquake (experimental group) or about 80 kilometres far (control group) when it happened. We proposed a semi-structured interview, focused on knowledge of earthquakes and associated emotions, and a task on the intensity of 4 negative emotions. We also measured emotional understanding and regulation abilities, not differing in the two groups. Analyses of variance revealed that the number of emotional terms and variety of their antecedents (natural, biological, human technological, human non-technological, affective, and cognitive) spontaneously reported was higher for the experimental group for older children. Intensity of fear, anxiety, sadness, and anger was higher for the experimental group at all ages. Notwithstanding limitations, we documented the role played by personal experience of natural disasters in shaping children’s later emotional representations, with useful hints for prevention at an applied level.
Earthquake
Emotions
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/957461
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