Threat of arson creates stress and anxiety

    Coatesville residents are on high alert after a string of arsons, including a fire that damaged 15 homes on Saturday. Experts say living with this kind of threat can cause anxiety and stress.

    Coatesville residents are on high alert after a string of arsons, including a fire that damaged 15 homes on Saturday. Experts say living with this kind of threat can cause anxiety and stress.

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    Temple University psychiatrist Dr. David Baron has been part of crisis intervention teams all over the world, counseling and evaluating people affected by natural disasters and acts of terror. He likens the threat of arson to the threat of terrorism:

    Baron: People don’t know, could I be next, it’s the unknown that creates the anxiety and the stress for people.

    He says how much people are affected by the threat depends on how well they deal with stress.

    Baron: Some people might have difficulty sleeping, a difficult time relaxing, just worrying about this, where there are other individuals within the community who are more stress resilient, who might in fact say gee, this is terrible, I hope they get this person whoever it might be, but you know it’s probably not going to happen to me, so we all have this level.

    Baron says it is important for public health officials to consider different kinds of reactions to stress when doing public outreach.

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