The Effectiveness of Psychosocial Interventions for Reducing Psychological Harm in Children and Adolescents who have Experienced Trauma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Sagle, Tiffany
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University of Guelph

Traumatic experiences can have a profound and lasting impact on the mental health of children and adolescents. In this meta-analysis, psychosocial interventions for children and adolescents who have been exposed to traumatic experiences were systematically reviewed. Twelve main intervention components were identified. Of the main intervention components, cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) was the most common and the most effective at reducing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) /Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS) in children and adolescents. These findings on the effectiveness of CBT add to the findings of previous reviews on intervention effectiveness on alleviating trauma symptoms in children and adolescents. Components of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Meditation- Relaxation Therapy, Family-Focused Therapy, Psychological Debriefing, Resiliency-Focused Therapy, Sensory Therapy, Psychoeducational Therapy, Time-Limited Dynamic Therapy (TLDP-A), and general unspecific counselling were used in the various treatments. Taking into account methodological quality, there was evidence for effectiveness for school-based and sexual trauma-based interventions in alleviating trauma symptoms. More research is needed to understand the effect of methodological quality on effect sizes based on intervention type. The implications for researchers and clinicians are discussed.

trauma, PTSD, child, adolescent, review, treatment, intervention