Child Disaster Mental Health Services: a Review of the System of Care, Assessment Approaches, and Evidence Base for Intervention

  • Betty PfefferbaumEmail author
  • Carol S. North
Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry (B Pfefferbaum, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry


Several decades of research have informed our knowledge of children’s reactions to disasters and the factors that influence their reactions. This article describes the system of care for child disaster mental health services using population risk to determine needed services and a stepped care approach built on assessment and monitoring to advance children to appropriate services. To assess the evidence base for disaster interventions, recent reviews of numerous child disaster mental health interventions are summarized.


Assessment Child disaster mental health interventions Children Disasters Disaster mental health services Disaster system of care Stepped care 



A special thank you to Dr. Tami D. Benton for taking the time to review this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Betty Pfefferbaum declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Carol S. North reports personal fees from Univ. of Missouri, Oxford University Press, and from American Entertainment International speakers bureau, outside the submitted work.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, College of Medicine and Terrorism and Disaster CenterUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.The Altshuler Center for Education & Research Metrocare ServicesDallasUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryThe University of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA

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