Meta-analyses of the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in childhood and adolescence are restricted to specific trauma, selected interventions, and methodologically rigorous studies. This large meta-analysis quantifies the effects of psychological treatments for PTSD symptoms in children and adolescents.
An extensive literature search yielded a total of 13,040 articles; 135 studies with 150 treatment conditions (N = 9562 participants) met the inclusion criteria (psychological interventions with children and/or adolescents with PTSD symptoms that report quantitative measures of symptom change).
The mean effect sizes (ESs) for PTSD symptoms ranged from large to small, depending on the control condition. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) yielded the highest ESs. Age and caretaker involvement were identified as moderators. CBT, especially when conducted in individual treatment with the inclusion of parents, is a highly effective treatment for trauma symptoms.
Psychological treatments need to be modified to address younger patients' specific needs.
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