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Clin Psychol Rev. 2016 Jul;47:41-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2016.05.006. Epub 2016 Jun 17.

Interventions for children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis of comparative outcome studies.

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Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This meta-analysis aimed at determining the efficacy of psychological and psychopharmacological interventions for children and adolescents suffering from symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A search using the Medline, PsycINFO, and PILOTS databases was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for pediatric PTSD. The search resulted in 41 RCTs, of which 39 were psychological interventions and two psychopharmacological interventions. Results showed that psychological interventions are effective in treating PTSD, with aggregated effect sizes of Hedge's g=0.83 when compared to waitlist and g=0.41 when compared to active control conditions at posttreatment. Trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy was the most researched form of intervention and resulted in medium to large effect sizes when compared to waitlist (g=1.44) and active control conditions (g=0.66). Experimental conditions were also more effective than control conditions at follow-up. Interventions were further effective in reducing comorbid depression symptoms, yet the obtained effect sizes were small to medium only. The findings indicate that psychological interventions can effectively reduce PTSD symptoms in children and adolescents. There is very little evidence to support use of psychopharmacological interventions for pediatric PTSD.


Adolescents; Children; Depression; Meta-analysis; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Treatment

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