Controversies regarding the mental health consequences of disasters are rooted both in disciplinary orientations and in the widely varied research strategies that have been employed in disaster mental health studies. However, despite a history of dissensus, there are also key issues on which researchers agree. Disasters constitute stressful and traumatic experiences. However, vulnerability to such experiences, as well as to more chronic Stressors, is socially structured, reflecting the influence of socio-economic status and other axes of stratification, including gender, race, and ethnicity. Disaster events differ in the extent to which they generate stress for victims. A holistic perspective on disaster mental health would take into account not only disaster event characteristics, but also social-systemic sources of both acute and chronic stress, secondary and cumulative Stressors, and victims internal and external coping capacities.