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Journal Article


Dawson K, Joscelyne A, Meijer C, Steel Z, Silove D, Bryant RA. Aust. N. Zeal. J. Psychiatry 2018; 52(3): 253-261.


School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


(Copyright © 2018, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Publisher SAGE Publishing)






OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relative efficacies of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy and problem-solving therapy in treating post-traumatic stress disorder in children affected by civil conflict in Aceh, Indonesia.

METHOD: A controlled trial of children with post-traumatic stress disorder ( N = 64) randomized children to either five individual weekly sessions of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy or problem-solving therapy provided by lay-counselors who were provided with brief training. Children were assessed by blind independent assessors at pretreatment, posttreatment and 3-month follow-up on post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anger, as well as caregiver ratings of the child's post-traumatic stress disorder levels.

RESULTS: Intent-to-treat analyses indicated no significant linear time × treatment condition interaction effects for post-traumatic stress disorder at follow-up ( t(129.05) = -0.55, p = 0.58), indicating the two conditions did not differ. Across both conditions, there were significant reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder on self-reported ( t(131.26) = -9.26, p < 0.001) and caregiver-reported ( t(170.65) = 3.53, p = 0.001) measures and anger ( t(127.66) = -7.14, p < 0.001). Across both conditions, there was a large effect size for self-reported post-traumatic stress disorder (cognitive behavior therapy: 3.73, 95% confidence interval = [2.75, 3.97]; problem-solving: 2.68, 95% confidence interval = [2.07, 3.29]).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy and problem-solving approaches are comparably successful in reducing post-traumatic stress disorder and anger in treating mental health in children in a post-conflict setting. This pattern may reflect the benefits of non-specific therapy effects or gains associated with trauma-focused or problem-solving approaches.

Language: en


Post-traumatic stress disorder; children; post-conflict; randomized controlled trial


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