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

Nexhmedin Morina, Rachel Koerssen, Thomas Pollet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-54
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Volume47
Early online date17 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

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