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Keywords:

  • natural disasters;
  • PTSD;
  • children;
  • stress reactions;
  • treatment;
  • prevention

ABSTRACT—Youth who are exposed to devastating natural disasters or terrorist attacks report high levels of posttraumatic stress (PTS) and may develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This article summarizes evidence on the treatment of PTS reactions in these youth and describes interventions developed for the immediate aftermath of the event, the short-term recovery and rebuilding phase, or the long-term recovery phase. Psychological first aid and evidence-based psychoeducational materials show promise for the early phases of postdisaster recovery. For youth with persistent PTSD, cognitive-behavioral interventions appear promising but require further study. Children and adolescents exposed to disasters and acts of terrorism may need multicomponent interventions because their reactions are often multifaceted and often include other psychological problems.