About this resource:

Systematic review

Source: The Cochrane Collaborative

Last Reviewed: October 2016

Children and adolescents who experience trauma are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This systematic review aimed to assess the effects of psychological therapies in preventing PTSD and associated negative emotional, behavioral, and mental health outcomes. It included 51 trials involving a total of 6,201 participants who had experienced a range of traumatic events including sexual abuse, physical trauma, and natural disasters. The interventions assessed included cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), narrative therapy, psychoeducation, and supportive therapy. It found that psychological therapy was more effective in preventing PTSD compared to no treatment or treatment as usual for up to a month following treatment. More robust research is needed to demonstrate the relative effectiveness of different psychological therapies for children exposed to trauma, particularly in the long term.

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Suggested Citation


Gillies, D., Maiocchi, L., Bhandari, A. P., Taylor, F., Gray, C., & O'Brien, L. (2016). Psychological therapies for children and adolescents exposed to trauma. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 2016 (10). DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012371.