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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2008 Jan;37(1):156-83. doi: 10.1080/15374410701818293.

Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Child and Family Psychosocial Research Center, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA.


The article reviews the current status (1993-2007) of psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents who have been exposed to traumatic events. Twenty-one treatment studies are evaluated using criteria from Nathan and Gorman (2002) along a continuum of methodological rigor ranging from Type 1 to Type 6. All studies were, at a minimum, robust or fairly rigorous. The treatments in each of these 21 studies also are classified using criteria from Chambless et al. (1996), and Chambless and Hollon (1998). Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy met the well-established criteria; School-Based Group Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment met the criteria for probably efficacious. All the other treatments were classified as either possibly efficacious or experimental. Meta-analytic results for four outcomes (i.e., posttraumatic stress, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and externalizing behavior problems) across all treatments compared to waitlist control and active control conditions combined reveal that, on average, treatments had positive, though modest, effects for all four outcomes. We also cover investigative work on predictors, moderators, and mediators of treatment outcome, as well as the clinical representativeness and generalizability of the studies. The article concludes with a discussion of practice guidelines and future research directions.

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