Researchers at the Georgia State University School of Public Health recently conducted a review of high-impact studies examining how youth react to natural disasters and found that most of the work to date focuses on mental health symptoms related to post-traumatic stress and other internalizing disorders.
The researchers called for an expansion of the disaster field with a focus on additional youth outcomes, such as behavior problems, physical health symptomatology, and posttraumatic growth.
“We also need to shift the focus of research to the whole child post-disaster, versus specific diagnostic categories of interest,” the authors wrote. “We must consider how these findings should shape the design of future studies in disaster impacted communities, as well as guide the clinical practice for serving and treating youth negatively impacted by disaster.”
The review is published in the article “The Impact of Natural Disasters on Youth: A Focus on Emerging Research beyond Internalizing Disorders,” published in the journal Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry. Dr. Shannon Self-Brown, professor of health promotion and behavior at Georgia State, is the lead author.
The co-authors are Dr. Betty Lai, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, Ms. Alexandria Patterson, project coordinator in the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development and Ms. Theresa Glasheen, Project Coordinator in the National SafeCare Training and Research Center (NSTRC), all from Georgia State.