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Disasters Like Hurricane Ian can Affect Academic Performance for Years to Come

Posted Oct 26, 2022

When leaders at a middle school in New Orleans asked Iowa State University Professor and Chair of Human Development and Family Studies Carl F. Weems to help students who were struggling after the city had been struck by Hurricane Katrina, they didn’t see eye to eye.

They wanted him to focus on helping the children overcome test anxiety. Their concern was enabling the children to pass a high-stakes standardized test.

As a developmental psychologist who specializes in how children respond to adverse events that cause stress and anxiety, Weems – and his colleagues – had something else in mind. They wanted to learn more about the severity of the children’s trauma. They wanted to know how they were coping with any lingering effects of having their lives uprooted by the hurricane. Their objective was to develop an intervention to reduce their overall anxiety, not just help kids do well on a test.

Read Weems’ full article in The Conversation here.