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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2000 Nov;39(11):1347-55.

Treating sexually abused children with posttraumatic stress symptoms: a randomized clinical trial.

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  • 1Faculty of Education, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.



To evaluate the efficacy of child and caregiver participation in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of sexually abused children with posttraumatic stress symptoms.


Thirty-six sexually abused children (aged 5-17 years) were randomly assigned to a child-alone cognitive-behavioral treatment condition, a family cognitive-behavioral treatment condition, or a waiting-list control condition.


Compared with controls, children who received treatment exhibited significant improvements in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and self-reports of fear and anxiety. Significant improvements also occurred in relation to parent-completed measures and clinician ratings of global functioning. In general, parental involvement did not improve the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Maintenance of improvement was evident at a 12-week follow-up assessment.


Cognitive-behavioral treatment was useful, but further research is required on caregiver involvement.

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