What Happens When They Talk About It? Family Reactions to Nuclear War

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In this study of family reactions to the possibility of nuclear war, in which structured interviews, drawings, and questionnaires were employed, most family members revealed significant worry about the threats to human survival. During the interviews, family members were able to communicate openly and interactively. On the whole, they moved readily from showing deep concern to revealing hopeful attitudes toward the future. Parental reports showed no apparent negative behavioral consequences for the children subsequent to the interviews. The research team found that the supportive group structure they had created allowed them to deal effectively with the affective impact of the material studied and was useful in enabling them to combat their own feelings of helplessness about the global future.

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