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Buka SL, Stichick T, Birdthistle I, Earls F. Youth exposure to violence: Prevalence, risks, and consequences. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 2001; 71(3):298.

Stichick T. The psychosocial impact of armed conflict on children. Rethinking traditional paradigms in research and intervention. Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2001; 10(4):797-814.

Betancourt TS. The IRC’s emergency education and recreation for Chechen displaced youth in Ingushetia. Forced Migration Review 2002; 15:28-30.

Bolton P, Betancourt TS. Mental health in postwar Afghanistan. Journal of the American Medical Association 2004; 292(5):626-628.

Betancourt TS. Stressors, supports and the social ecology of displacement: psychosocial dimensions of an emergency education program for Chechen adolescents displaced in Ingushetia, Russia. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 2005; 29(3):309-340.

Bolton P, Bass J, Betancourt TS, Speelman L, Onyango G, Clougherty K, Neugebauer R, Murray L, Verdeli H. Interventions for depression symptoms among adolescent survivors of war and displacement in northern Uganda: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association 2007; 298(5):519-527.

Verdeli H, Clougherty K, Onyango G, Lewandowski E, Speelman L, Betancourt TS, Neugebauer R, Stein TR, Bolton P. Group interpersonal psychotherapy for depressed youth in IDP camps in northern Uganda: Adaptation and training. Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2008; 17(3):605-624.

Betancourt TS, Williams TP. Building an evidence base on mental health interventions for children affected by armed conflict. Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counseling in Areas of Armed Conflict 2008; 6(1):39-56.

Betancourt TS. Child soldiers: reintegration, pathways to recovery, and reflections from the field. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 2008; 29(2):138-141.

Betancourt TS, Khan KT. The mental health of children affected by armed conflict: Protective processes and pathways to resilience. International Review of Psychiatry 2008; 20(3):317-328.

Betancourt TS, Simmons S, Borisova I, Brewer SE, Iweala U, de la Soudiere M. High hopes, grim reality: Reintegration and the education of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Comparative Education Review 2008; 52(4):565–587.

Betancourt TS, Speelman L, Onyango G, Bolton P. A qualitative study of psychosocial problems of war-affected youth in northern Uganda. Journal of Transcultural Psychiatry 2009; 46(2):238-256.

Betancourt TS, Bass J, Borisova I, Neugebauer R, Speelman L, Onyango G, Neugebauer R, Bolton P. Measuring local instrument validity and reliability: A field-based example from Northern Uganda. Journal of Social Psychology and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2009; 44(8):685-92.

Smith Fawzi M, Betancourt TS, Marcelin L, Klopner M, Munir M, Muriel A, Oswald C, Mukherjee JS. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder among Haitian immigrant students: implications for access to mental health services and educational programming. BMC Public Health 2009; 9(1):482.

Betancourt TS, Agnew-Blais J, Gilman SE, Ellis BH. Past horrors, present struggles: The role of stigma in the association between war experiences and psychosocial adjustment among former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Social Science & Medicine 2010; 70(1):17-26.

Betancourt TS, Smith Fawzi MK, Bruderlein C, Desmond C, Kim J. Children Affected by HIV/AIDS: SAFE, A Model for Promoting their Security, Health and Development. Psychology, Health & Medicine 2010; 15(3):243-265.

Betancourt TS, Brennan R, Rubin-Smith J, Fitzmaurice R, Gilman SE. Sierra Leone’s former child soldiers: a longitudinal study of risk, protective factors, and mental health. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 2010; 49(6):606-615.

Desmond C, Betancourt TS, Garvey B. Firelight Special Issue: Costs and Care. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies 2010; 5(S1):63-70.

Betancourt TS, Borisova II, Williams TP, Whitfield TH, de la Soudiere M, Williamson J, Gilman SE.  Sierra Leone’s former child soldiers: A follow-up study of psychosocial adjustment and community reintegration. Child Development 2010: 81(4):1077-95.

Betancourt TS, Abrams E, McBain R, Fawzi M. Family-centred approaches to the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2010; 13(S2):S2.

Betancourt TS. A longitudinal study of psychosocial adjustment and community reintegration among former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. International Psychiatry 2010; 7(3):60-2.

Zraly M, Betancourt TS, Rubin-Smith J. Primary mental health care for survivors of collective sexual violence: findings from Rwanda and implications for services in the great lakes region. Global Public Health. 2011; 6(3):257-70.

Betancourt TS, Rubin-Smith JE, Beardslee WR, Stulac SN, Fayida I, Safren SA. Understanding locally, culturally, and contextually relevant mental health problems among Rwandan children and adolescents affected by HIV/AIDS. AIDS Care 2011; 23(4):401-12

Betancourt TS, Borisova II, de la Soudiere M, Williamson J. Sierra Leone’s child soldiers: War exposures and mental health problems by gender. Journal of Adolescent Health 2011; 49(1), 21-28.

Betancourt TS, Salhi C, Buka S, Leaning J, Dunn G, Earls F. Connectedness, Social Support and Internalizing Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Adolescents Displaced by the Chechen Conflict. Disasters. Available online 23 March 2012.

Tol WA, Barbui C, Galapatti A, Silove D, Betancourt TS, Souza R, Golaz A, van Ommeren M. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Settings: Linking Practice and Research. Lancet 2011; 378(9802):1581-91.

Betancourt TS, Meyers-Ohki SE, Stulac SN, Barrera AE, Mushashi C, Beardslee WR. Nothing can defeat combined hands (Abashize hamwe ntakibananira): Protective Processes and Resilience in Rwandan Children and Families Affected by HIV/AIDS. Social Science & Medicine 2011; 73(5): 693-701.

Betancourt TS, Meyers-Ohki SE, Stevenson A, Ingabire C, Kanyanganzi F, Munyana M, Mushashi C, Teta S, Fayida I, Rwabukwisi Cyamatare F, Stulac SN, Beardslee WR. Using Mixed-Methods Research to Adapt and Evaluate a Family Strengthening Intervention in Rwanda. African Journal of Traumatic Stress 2011; 2(1):32-45.

Du BY, Lee CT, Desy C, Belfer ML, Betancourt TS, O’Rourke EJ, Palfrey JS. The living environment and children’s fears following the Indonesian tsunami. Disasters 2011. Available online 21 November March 2011.

Kelly JT, Betancourt TS, Mukwege D, Lipton RI, VanRooyen MJ. Experiences of Female Survivors of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo: A mixed-methods study. Conflict and Health 2011; 5(25).

McBain R, Norton DJ, Morris J, Taghi MT, Betancourt TS. The Role of Health Systems Factors in Facilitating Access to Psychotropic Medicines: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the WHO-AIMS in 63 Low- and Middle-Income Countries. PLoS Medicine 2012; 9(1).

Betancourt TS, Williams TP, Kellner SE, Gebre-Medhin J, Hann K, Kayiteshonga Y. Interrelatedness of child health, protection and well-being: An application of the SAFE model in Rwanda. Social Science & Medicine 2012; 74(10):1504-11.

Kimmel AD, Daniels N, Betancourt TS, Wood R, and Prosser LA.  Decision maker priorities for providing antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected South Africans:  A qualitative assessment.  AIDS Care. 2012; 24(6):778-92.

Williams T, Binagwaho A, Betancourt TS. Transactional sex as a form of child sexual exploitation and abuse in Rwanda: Implications for child security and protection. Child Abuse & Neglect 2012; 36(4):354-361.

Betancourt TS, McBain R, Newnham EA, Brennan RT. Trajectories of internalizing problems in war-affected Sierra Leonean youth: Roles of conflict and post-conflict factors. Child Development. (In press).

Betancourt TS, Yudron M, Wheaton W, Smith-Fawzi MC. Caregiver and Adolescent Mental Health in Ethiopian Kunama Refugees Participating in an Emergency Education Program. Journal of Adolescent Health. 22 March 2012.

Betancourt TS, Newnham EA, Brennan RT, Verdeli H, Borisova I, Neugebauer R, Bass J, Bolton P. Moderators of Treatment Effectiveness for War-Affected Youth with Depression in Northern Uganda. Journal of Adolescent Health. 5 April 2012.


Betancourt TS. Developmental Perspectives on Moral Agency in Former Child Soldiers. [Commentary]. Human Development 2011. 54: 307-312.

Betancourt TS. (2011). Attending to the Mental Health of War-Affected Children: The need for Longitudinal and Developmental Research Perspectives. [Editorial]. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2011. 50(4):323-325.

Commissioned Papers

Stichick T, Bruderlein C. Children Facing Insecurity: New Strategies for Survival in a Global Era. Policy paper produced for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, The Human Security Network, 3rd Ministerial Meeting, Petra, Jordan, 11-12 May, 2001.

Betancourt TS, Borisova I, Rubin-Smith JE, Gingerich T, Williams T, Agnew-Blais J. Psychosocial adjustment and social reintegration of children associated with armed forces and armed groups: The state of the field and future directions. Austin, TX: Psychology Beyond Borders, 2008.

Betancourt TS, Ettien A. Transitional Justice and Youth Formerly Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups: Acceptance, Marginalization and Psychosocial Adjustment. Innocenti Working Paper No. 2010-#, Florence, UNICEF, Innocenti Research Center, 2010.


Stichick T. Stressors, risk, resilience and psychosocial adjustment among Eritrean Kunama refugee adolescents in Ethiopia: Report of Baseline Data Collection. Ethiopia: International Rescue Committee; 2001.

Betancourt TS, Wheaton W, Yitna A. Stressors, risk, resilience and psychosocial adjustment among Eritrean Kunama refugee adolescents in Ethiopia: Wave II Report. Ethiopia: International Rescue Committee; 2002.

Betancourt TS, DeSilva MB. Psychosocial adjustment and social reintegration of former child combatants in Sierra Leone: A longitudinal study.  Report of baseline data assessment. Freetown: International Rescue Committee; 2003.

Betancourt TS. Connectedness, Social Support and Mental Health in Adolescents Displaced by the War in Chechnya. Cambridge, MA: MIT-Mellon Program on NGOs and Forced Migration; 2004.

Birman D, Ho J, Pulley E, Batia K, Everson ML, Ellis H, Betancourt TS, Gonzalez A. Mental Health Interventions for Refugee Children in Resettlement White Paper II.  Report for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network by the Refugee Trauma Task Force; 2005.

Betancourt TS, Bolton P. Using Qualitative Methods to Develop a Locally-Derived Measure of Psychosocial Problems in Acholi War-Affected Children. World Vision Uganda; 2005.

Betancourt TS, Pochan S, de la Soudiere M. Psychosocial adjustment and social reintegration of child ex-soldiers in Sierra Leone: A follow-up analysis. Freetown: International Rescue Committee; 2005.

Betancourt TS, Brewer S, de la Soudiere M. Holding on to hope: Education, coping, and the struggles of children associated with fighting forces in Sierra Leone. A Report to the International Rescue Committee Children and Youth Protection and Development Program: International Rescue Committee; 2005.

Betancourt TS, Gray A, Bolton P. A Qualitative Assessment of Trauma Affected Populations in Tamaulipas, Mexico. A report to the Victims of Torture Fund, USAID; 2006.

Betancourt TS, Borisova I. Executive summary of research: psychosocial adjustment and social reintegration of child ex-combatants in Sierra Leone. Boston, MA; 2007.

Kim JY, Mungherera L, Belfer M, Betancourt TS, Holman SR, Smith-Fawzi MC. Integration and Expansion of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and Early Childhood Intervention Services. Boston, MA: Joint Learning Initiative on Children and HIV/AIDS, Learning Group 3: Expanding Access to Services and Protecting Human Rights; 2008.

Allden K, Jones L, Weissbecker I, Wessells M, Bolton P, Betancourt TS, Hijazi Z, Galappatti A, Yamout R, Patel P, Sumathipala A. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Crisis and Conflict: Report of the Mental Health Working Group. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine; 2009.

Porterfield K, Akinsulure-Smith A, Benson MA, Betancourt TS, Ellis HB, Kia-Keating M, Miller K. Resilience & Recovery After War: Refugee Children and Families in the United States. Report of the APA Task Force on the Psychosocial Effects of War on Children and Families Who are Refugees from Armed Conflict Residing in the United States, for the American Psychological Association; 2010.

Patel PP, Russell J, Allden K, Betancourt TS, Bolton P, Galappatti A, Hijazi Z, Johnson K, Jones L, Kadis L, Leary K, Weissbecker I, Nakku J. Transitioning Mental Health & Psychosocial Support: From Short-Term Emergency to Sustainable Post-Disaster Development. Humanitarian Action Summit 2011. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine; 2012.

Books and Monographs

Ellis H, Rubin A, Betancourt TS, Saxe G. Mental health interventions for children affected by war or terrorism. In: Violence and Children’s Mental Health. Feerick M, ed. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing; 2006.

Ellis, H. & Betancourt, T.S. Mental Health and Illness in Immigrants: Children and Adolescents. In: Walker PF, Barnett ED, eds. Immigrant Medicine. Boston, MA: Elsevier Health Sciences; 2007:673-680.

Betancourt, T.S. The Social Ecology of Resilience in War-Affected Youth: A Longitudinal Study from Sierra Leone. In: Ungar, M. ed. The Social Ecology of Resilience: Culture, Context, Resources, and Meaning. New York: Springer; 2011.

Betancourt TS, Meyers-Ohki SE, Stevenson A, Mushashi C. Applying a Mixed-Methods Model to Planning and Evaluating Child Mental Health Interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Tomlinson M, Hanlon C, Swartz L, Cooper P, Sameroff A, eds. Infant and child development in Africa: Perspectives from the continent. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press & United Nations University Press. (In press).

Betancourt TS, Beardslee WR. The Consequences of Concentrated Adversity on Child and Adolescent Mental Health. In: Maholmes V, King R, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Child Development. New York: Oxford University Press; 2012.

Betancourt TS, Meyers-Ohki SE, Stulac SN, Barrera AE, Mushashi C, Beardslee WR. Using Mixed-Methods to Plan, Assess, and Evaluate International Mental Health Programs for Children and Families Facing Adversity: The Development of the Family Strengthening Intervention in Rwanda (FSI-R). In: Corbin J, ed. Children and Families Affected by Armed Conflicts in Africa: Implications and Strategies for Helping Professionals in the United States. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers Press. (In press).

Betancourt TS,  Tol W. Interventions for Children Affected by Armed Conflict: An ecological view. In: Muntasser S, Joshi P, Munoz R, eds. Children and war. New York: Springer. (In press).

Tol WA, Jordans MJD, Kohrt BA, Betancourt TS, Komproe IH. Promoting mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in children affected by political violence: current evidence for an ecological resilience approach. In: Fernando C, Ferrari M, eds. Handbook on Resilience in Children of War. New York: Springer. (In press).

Betancourt TS, Zaeh SE, Ettien A, Khan LN. Psychosocial Adjustment and Mental Health Services in Post-conflict Sierra Leone: Experiences of War-affected Youth, Families and Service Providers. In: Parmentier S, Sarkin J, Weitekamp E, eds. A New Series on Transitional Justice (title under revision). Antwerp: Intersentia. (In press).

Betancourt TS. Using Mixed Methods to Plan and Evaluate Mental Health Programs for War-Affected Children in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Kleinman A, Akyeampong E, eds. African Psychiatry. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. (In press).


Theresa S. Betancourt is Director of the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA) and Associate Professor of Child Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Her central research interests include:

  • the developmental and psychosocial consequences of concentrated adversity on children and families;
  • resilience and protective processes in child development;
  • child health and human rights; and
  • applied cross-cultural mental health research.

Dr. Betancourt is the Principal Investigator of an ongoing longitudinal study of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone and is currently collaborating with Partners in Health Rwanda to launch a mixed-methods study of mental health needs among HIV/AIDS-affected youth. Recently she served as the Co-PI of a randomized-controlled trial of interventions for the treatment of depression symptoms in youth displaced by war in northern Uganda.

Her prior research includes a study of the psychosocial dimensions of an emergency education program serving internally-displaced Chechen youth, an investigation of the relationship between connectedness, social support and emotional problems in Chechen IDP youth and a study of the relationship between caregiver and child mental health among Eritrean Kunama refugees living on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border. She is also collaborating with local child protection NGOs in Sierra Leone to develop a policy initiative designed to improve child welfare and social services for war-affected youth in that country.

Dr. Betancourt graduated summa cum laude in psychology from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon and holds a Master in Art Therapy from the University of Louisville. She completed her doctoral work in Maternal and Child Health with concentrations in Psychiatric Epidemiology and Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health.


Sc.D., 2003, Harvard
School of Public Health

M.A., 1993, University
of Louisville

B.A., 1991, Linfield College

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