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The effectiveness of psychological interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder in children, adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis

John-Baptiste Bastien, R; Jongsma, HE; Kabadayi, M; Billings, J; (2020) The effectiveness of psychological interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder in children, adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Medicine , 50 (10) pp. 1598-1612. 10.1017/S0033291720002007. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Children and adolescents display different symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than adults. Whilst evidence for the effectiveness of psychological interventions has been synthesised for adults, this is not directly applicable to younger people. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis synthesised studies investigating the effectiveness of psychological interventions for PTSD in children, adolescents and young adults. It provides an update to previous reviews investigating interventions in children and adolescents, whilst investigating young adults for the first time. / Methods: We searched published and grey literature to obtain randomised control trials assessing psychological interventions for PTSD in young people published between 2011 and 2019. Quality of studies was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Data were analysed using univariate random-effects meta-analysis. / Results: From 15 373 records, 27 met criteria for inclusion, and 16 were eligible for meta-analysis. There was a medium pooled effect size for all psychological interventions (d = −0.44, 95% CI −0.68 to −0.20), as well as for Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) (d = −0.30, 95% CI −0.58 to −0.02); d = −0.46, 95% CI −0.81 to −0.12). / Conclusions: Some, but not all, psychological interventions commonly used to treat PTSD in adults were effective in children, adolescents and young adults. Interventions specifically adapted for younger people were also effective. Our results support the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines which suggest children and adolescents be offered TF-CBT as a first-line treatment because of a larger evidence base, despite EMDR being more effective.

Type: Article
Title: The effectiveness of psychological interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder in children, adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0033291720002007
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720002007
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Adolescents; CBT; children; cognitive behavioural therapy; EMDR; interventions; post-traumatic stress disorder; PTSD; therapy; youth
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106695
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