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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for PTSD in Children and Adolescents: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial.

Author(s): Smith P, Yule W, Perrin S, Tranah T, Dalgleish T, Clark DM

Affiliation(s): Drs. Smith, Perrin, Tranah, Yule, and Clark are with Kings College London, Institute of Psychiatry; and Dr. Dalgleish is with the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK.

Publication date & source: 2007-08, J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry., 46(8):1051-61.

OBJECTIVE:: To evaluate the efficacy of individual trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children and young people. METHOD:: Following a 4-week symptom-monitoring baseline period, 24 children and young people (8-18 years old) who met full DSM-IV PTSD diagnostic criteria after experiencing single-incident traumatic events (motor vehicle accidents, interpersonal violence, or witnessing violence) were randomly allocated to a 10-week course of individual CBT or to placement on a waitlist (WL) for 10 weeks. RESULTS:: Compared to the WL group, participants who received CBT showed significantly greater improvement in symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety, with significantly better functioning. After CBT, 92% of participants no longer met criteria for PTSD; after WL, 42% of participants no longer met criteria. CBT gains were maintained at 6-month follow-up. Effects of CBT were partially mediated by changes in maladaptive cognitions, as predicted by cognitive models of PTSD. CONCLUSIONS:: Individual trauma-focused CBT is an effective treatment for PTSD in children and young people.

Page last updated: 2007-08-04

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