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Review: Few effective, evidence-based interventions for children exposed to traumatic events
Date:2/10/2013

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. About two of every three children will experience at least one traumatic event before they turn 18. Despite this high rate of exposure, little is known about the effectiveness of treatments aimed at preventing and relieving traumatic stress symptoms that children may experience after such events, according to researchers at RTI International, the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, the RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center, and Boston Medical Center.

The article, published today in the journal Pediatrics, summarizes the results of a systematic review of clinical interventions for children under age 18 exposed to at least one traumatic event such as an accident, natural disaster, community violence, war, or political instability. Child abuse and neglect were not included in this research; a separate review covers interventions for these types of traumas. The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded the review.

After reviewing 6,647 abstracts, the investigators found 21 trials and 1 cohort study that met the criteria for inclusion in the review. Only a few psychotherapeutic treatments showed possible benefits for children exposed to trauma. The most promising interventions were school-based psychotherapy interventions that included cognitive behavior therapy. These interventions were associated with changes in symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and anger. The review did not find evidence of effectiveness for any of the pharmacologic interventions.

"The current body of evidence provides only a little insight into best practices in treating children exposed to trauma, some of whom already have symptoms," said Valerie Forman-Hoffman, Ph.D., a research epidemiologist at RTI International and lead author of the study. "This is particularly discouraging given recent shootings at schools and other places where children have been victims. We simply don't hav
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Contact: Tom Hughes
tahughes@unch.unc.edu
919-966-6047
University of North Carolina Health Care

Lisa Bistreich-Wolfe
lbistreich@tri.org
919-316-3596
RTI International
Source:Eurekalert  


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