Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 2 (1), 46-57

Child Disaster Mental Health Interventions, Part I: Techniques, Outcomes, and Methodological Considerations


Child Disaster Mental Health Interventions, Part I: Techniques, Outcomes, and Methodological Considerations

Betty Pfefferbaum et al. Disaster Health.


This review of child disaster mental health intervention studies describes the techniques used in the interventions and the outcomes addressed, and it provides a preliminary evaluation of the field. The interventions reviewed here used a variety of strategies such as cognitive behavioral approaches, exposure and narrative techniques, relaxation, coping skill development, social support, psychoeducation, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and debriefing. A diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or posttraumatic stress reactions were the most commonly addressed outcomes although other reactions such as depression, anxiety, behavior problems, fear, and/or traumatic grief also were examined. Recommendations for future research are outlined.

Keywords: children; disaster; intervention; outcomes; posttraumatic stress; posttraumatic stress disorder; research; terrorism; therapy; treatment.


Figure 1. Flow diagram of the literature search and research reviewed. *Two stages of one study which described a two-phase trial12 were analyzed separately, resulting in 48 interventions for review.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 11 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Furr JM, Comer JS, Edmunds JM, Kendall PC. Disasters and youth: a meta-analytic examination of posttraumatic stress. J Consult Clin Psychol 2010; 78:765 - 80;; PMID: 21114340 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Norris FH, Friedman MJ, Watson PJ, Byrne CM, Diaz E, Kaniasty K. 60,000 disaster victims speak: Part I. An empirical review of the empirical literature, 1981-2001. Psychiatry 2002; 65:207 - 39;; PMID: 12405079 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Silverman WK, La Greca AM. Children experiencing disasters: Definitions, reactions, and predictors of outcomes. In: La Greca, AM, Silverman WK, Vernberg EM, Roberts MC, eds. Helping Children Cope with Disasters and Terrorism. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2002: 11-33.
    1. Feeny NC, Treadwell KRH, Foa EB, March J. Posttraumatic stress disorder in youth: A critical review of the cognitive and behavioral treatment outcome literature. Prof Psychol Res Pr 2004; 35:466 - 76; - DOI
    1. Rolfsnes ES, Idsoe T. School-based intervention programs for PTSD symptoms: a review and meta-analysis. J Trauma Stress 2011; 24:155 - 65;; PMID: 21425191 - DOI - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources