Study Design

To investigate the possibility of quantitative differences, qualitative differences, or both in children's reports of traumatic and nontraumatic events, approximately 4 months after the tornado, we asked mothers and their children to talk about the storm and about two events that were not related to the tornado: one that had taken place within 4 months prior to the tornado, and one that had taken place since the storm but that was not related to it. To evaluate whether any observed differences persisted over time, 6 months after the first interview (10 months after the storm), we asked the dyads to talk about the same three events again. We included two different nontraumatic experiences from the relatively recent and more distant past in order to evaluate the possibility that any differences between memories of the tornado and nontraumatic events might be the result of systematic differences in the retention interval between when the events occurred and when they were discussed. Contrary to this suggestion, the analyses revealed few differences between the nontraumatic events that took place before and after the tornado. For this reason, we collapsed across the two nontraumatic events and used the resulting means in analyses.

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