Disaster preparedness for children and families: a critical review

Kevin R Ronan, Eva Alisic, Briony Towers, Victoria A Johnson, David M Johnston

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Preparedness for disasters is universally low; children and families are particularly vulnerable groups. Against this backdrop, research on disaster preparedness for children and families is reviewed, with a focus on disaster preparedness and prevention education programs. Following definitions and theory/rationale, research is critically analyzed. While findings indicate a large growth in research in the past 15 years and largely positive findings, significant challenges remain. These challenges include issues related to methodological rigor, long-term effectiveness, and implementation. Recent research reflecting these important challenges is reviewed. At the same time, other recent research documents real potential for these programs, including findings which suggest that increased attention to incorporating theory- and evidence-supported components can enhance outcomes. Thus, despite some important limitations and challenges, research done to date signals promise for these programs in reducing risk and increasing resilience to disasters for children, families, and the households and communities in which they live.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number58
    Number of pages9
    JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

    Cite this