Many treatment options were reviewed.

The strongest evidence was for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to reduce psychological harm in children and adolescents following trauma.

First, the details.

  • The reviewers selected studies conducted in high-income economies.
  • Studies included people younger than 21 years who were exposed to traumatic events: individual or mass, intentional or unintentional, man-made or natural.
  • The studies were categorized by type of trauma, and the results reanalyzed — meta-analysis.
  • Disorders of interest included depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder, internalizing and externalizing disorders, and suicidal behavior.

And, the results.

  • 11 studies of individual CBT and 10 studies of group CBT showed beneficial effects on psychological harm.
  • There was insufficient evidence of benefit for the following treatments: play, art, psychodynamic therapies, pharmacologic therapies, and psychological debriefing.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Personnel treating children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events should use interventions for which evidence of effectiveness is available.”

The reviewers are associated with the CDC’s Task Force on Community Preventive Services.

9/19/08 18:49 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.