Adolescents’ Exposure to Disasters and Substance Use

Miriam Schiff*, Lin Fang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper reviews the impact of exposure to man-made or natural disasters on adolescent substance use. It covers empirical studies published from 2005 to 2015 concerning (a) the scope of the problem, (b) vulnerable groups and risk and protective factors, and (c) evidence-based interventions. The review suggests a strong link between adolescent substance use and exposure to either man-made or natural disaster. Vulnerable groups include adolescents with previous exposure to traumatic events, living in areas that are continually exposed to disasters, and ethnic minorities. Risk and protective factors at the individual, familial, community, and societal levels are described based on the bioecological model of mass trauma. Given that mass trauma is unfortunately a global problem, it is important to establish international interdisciplinary working teams to set gold standards for comparative studies on the etiology for adolescent substance use in the context of disasters.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number57
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Adolescents
  • Bioecological model
  • Interventions
  • Man-made disasters
  • Mass trauma
  • Natural disasters
  • PTSD
  • Social support
  • Substance use


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