Student Coping with the Effects of Disaster Media Coverage: A Qualitative Study of School Staff Perceptions

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School Mental Health


Disasters, Schools, Teachers, Social coping, Collective coping


Addressing mental and behavioral health effects of disaster media coverage is an important part of a disaster public health response, and school staff may be particularly well suited to help children and youth cope with disaster media. We conducted qualitative interviews (N = 42) to explore US school staff (e.g., teachers, mental health staff, administrators) perspectives on disaster media coverage and students and used an inductive thematic method for analysis. We found that school staff reported that students often exhibited reactions to disaster media that included expressing emotions and asking questions. With regard to school staff coping efforts with students, participants described different ways they talked with students about disaster media, but also reported a need for help with these conversations.