Child development in the context of disaster, war, and terrorism: Pathways of risk and resilience

Ann S. Masten, Angela J. Narayan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

581 Scopus citations


This review highlights progress over the past decade in research on the effects of mass trauma experiences on children and youth, focusing on natural disasters, war, and terrorism. Conceptual advances are reviewed in terms of prevailing risk and resilience frameworks that guide basic and translational research. Recent evidence on common components of these models is evaluated, including dose effects, mediators and moderators, and the individual or contextual differences that predict risk or resilience. New research horizons with profound implications for health and well-being are discussed, particularly in relation to plausible models for biological embedding of extreme stress. Strong consistencies are noted in this literature, suggesting guidelines for disaster preparedness and response. At the same time, there is a notable shortage of evidence on effective interventions for child and youth victims. Practical and theory-informative research on strategies to protect children and youth victims and promote their resilience is a global priority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-257
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual review of psychology
StatePublished - 2012


  • Biological embedding
  • Dose gradient
  • Mass trauma


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