Exploring the Use of the Interactive Systems Framework to Guide School Mental Health Services in Post-disaster Contexts: Building Community Capacity for Trauma-Focused Interventions

Leslie K. Taylor, Mark D. Weist, Kendra Deloach McCutcheon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Over the past two decades schools have been identified as the de facto mental health system for youth. Therefore, improving and expanding school mental health (SMH) has become a pressing agenda item for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and funders. Advancing this agenda includes not only translating intervention research into practice within schools, but building capacities for these interventions to occur. The interactive systems framework (ISF) of Wandersman and colleagues, and the focus of this special issue, provides guidance in bridging the gap between research and practice through multisystem capacity building. There is some evidence that application of the ISF has helped to build capacity for SMH in states, but this evidence is preliminary. In addition, application of the ISF has not occurred in SMH at the community level or in relation to the specific stresses a community undergoes in relation to a disaster. The purpose of this article was to conduct a preliminary attempt to connect these three areas-the ISF, SMH and strengthening SMH through the ISF to better address impacts of a community level disaster; in this case, we explore the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans schools, their students and families, and SMH programming within them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-540
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Community intervention planning
  • Disasters
  • Interactive systems framework (ISF)
  • Trauma focused school mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Applied Psychology
  • Health(social science)

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