Exposure to trauma at a younger age has been associated with an increased likelihood of developing PTSD. School-based interventions have been utilized to address traumatic stress and PTSD symptoms in children. However, to date, no meta-analyses have been performed to evaluate the strength of intervention impacts on PTS symptoms in school-aged children, ages 5-11.
Thus, the current review sought to address these gaps. Nine international databases were searched during the study's timeframe. Inclusion criteria were: (1) randomized controlled trials of an intervention or prevention program, (2) implementation in a school-based setting, (3) children aged 5-11, and (4) an outcome variable for PTS or PTSD. Although 26 studies met the above criteria, 21 studies met all inclusion criteria, including the data necessary to run the analysis, and were ultimately included in the meta-analysis. Random effects models were used; the standard mean difference was reported at -.30, which was determined as statistically significant (t = - 2.70, p = .01; 95% CI: [- 0.52, -0.07]).
The results indicate that school-based interventions can effectively reduce posttraumatic stress in young children. These results indicate that school-based programs to address trauma in children may be an effective strategy to reduce PTS-related symptoms. Some limitations include a small number of studies included in the meta-analysis. Additionally, few studies reported enough detail to determine racial and ethnic demographic and specific age outcomes.
As a result, it was not possible to isolate the specific effects on the intended age group and conduct moderator effects for racial and ethnic demographic data.
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