College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-22-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kathryn Grant, PhD

Second Advisor

Jocelyn Carter, PhD

Third Advisor

Gerald P. Koocher, PhD


Disasters, both natural and human-made, are on the rise. While disasters affect everyone, the most vulnerable populations are often hardest hit. Our nation’s youth are among the most vulnerable, suffering the most severe psychological repercussions. This is a population in need of empirically supported post-disaster mental health interventions. However, the research on mental health treatments for post-disaster trauma treatment among youth is still in its developmental stages. There is no known synthesis of treatment interventions for youth and their families, even though there is clear evidence that this population is among the most vulnerable to the effects of disaster exposure. Following multiple large-scale disasters, such as September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina, there has been a growth in post-disaster intervention research. This new research may better inform the effectiveness of interventions with youth.

The current meta-analytic review is the first to investigate the effectiveness of mental health interventions for children, adolescents, and their families following disaster. This review found that psychological outcomes from 24 intervention studies indicate that children and adolescents receiving post-disaster mental health interventions fared significantly better than those in control or waitlist groups, with respect to anxiety, PTSD, and depression symptoms. Review findings also provide a reference that can inform key stakeholders and impact future research, practice, and policy.

SLP Collection