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Psychological therapies for children and adolescents exposed to trauma

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2016
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (86th percentile)

Mentioned by

3 policy sources
69 tweeters
3 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page


56 Dimensions

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602 Mendeley
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Psychological therapies for children and adolescents exposed to trauma
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd012371
Pubmed ID

Donna Gillies, Licia Maiocchi, Abhishta P Bhandari, Fiona Taylor, Carl Gray, Louise O'Brien


Children and adolescents who have experienced trauma are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other negative emotional, behavioural and mental health outcomes, all of which are associated with high personal and health costs. A wide range of psychological treatments are used to prevent negative outcomes associated with trauma in children and adolescents. To assess the effects of psychological therapies in preventing PTSD and associated negative emotional, behavioural and mental health outcomes in children and adolescents who have undergone a traumatic event. We searched the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Group's Specialised Register to 29 May 2015. This register contains reports of relevant randomised controlled trials from The Cochrane Library (all years), EMBASE (1974 to date), MEDLINE (1950 to date) and PsycINFO (1967 to date). We also checked reference lists of relevant studies and reviews. We did not restrict the searches by date, language or publication status. All randomised controlled trials of psychological therapies compared with a control such as treatment as usual, waiting list or no treatment, pharmacological therapy or other treatments in children or adolescents who had undergone a traumatic event. Two members of the review group independently extracted data. We calculated odds ratios for binary outcomes and standardised mean differences for continuous outcomes using a random-effects model. We analysed data as short-term (up to and including one month after therapy), medium-term (one month to one year after therapy) and long-term (one year or longer). Investigators included 6201 participants in the 51 included trials. Twenty studies included only children, two included only preschool children and ten only adolescents; all others included both children and adolescents. Participants were exposed to sexual abuse in 12 trials, to war or community violence in ten, to physical trauma and natural disaster in six each and to interpersonal violence in three; participants had suffered a life-threatening illness and had been physically abused or maltreated in one trial each. Participants in remaining trials were exposed to a range of traumas.Most trials compared a psychological therapy with a control such as treatment as usual, wait list or no treatment. Seventeen trials used cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT); four used family therapy; three required debriefing; two trials each used eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), narrative therapy, psychoeducation and supportive therapy; and one trial each provided exposure and CBT plus narrative therapy. Eight trials compared CBT with supportive therapy, two compared CBT with EMDR and one trial each compared CBT with psychodynamic therapy, exposure plus supportive therapy with supportive therapy alone and narrative therapy plus CBT versus CBT alone. Four trials compared individual delivery of psychological therapy to a group model of the same therapy, and one compared CBT for children versus CBT for both mothers and children.The likelihood of being diagnosed with PTSD in children and adolescents who received a psychological therapy was significantly reduced compared to those who received no treatment, treatment as usual or were on a waiting list for up to a month following treatment (odds ratio (OR) 0.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34 to 0.77; number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) 6.25, 95% CI 3.70 to 16.67; five studies; 874 participants). However the overall quality of evidence for the diagnosis of PTSD was rated as very low. PTSD symptoms were also significantly reduced for a month after therapy (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.42, 95% CI -0.61 to -0.24; 15 studies; 2051 participants) and the quality of evidence was rated as low. These effects of psychological therapies were not apparent over the longer term.CBT was found to be no more or less effective than EMDR and supportive therapy in reducing diagnosis of PTSD in the short term (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.29 to 1.91; 2 studies; 160 participants), however this was considered very low quality evidence. For reduction of PTSD symptoms in the short term, there was a small effect favouring CBT over EMDR, play therapy and supportive therapies (SMD -0.24, 95% CI -0.42 to -0.05; 7 studies; 466 participants). The quality of evidence for this outcome was rated as moderate.We did not identify any studies that compared pharmacological therapies with psychological therapies. The meta-analyses in this review provide some evidence for the effectiveness of psychological therapies in prevention of PTSD and reduction of symptoms in children and adolescents exposed to trauma for up to a month. However, our confidence in these findings is limited by the quality of the included studies and by substantial heterogeneity between studies. Much more evidence is needed to demonstrate the relative effectiveness of different psychological therapies for children exposed to trauma, particularly over the longer term. High-quality studies should be conducted to compare these therapies.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 69 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 602 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 602 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 109 18%
Student > Bachelor 84 14%
Researcher 75 12%
Student > Ph. D. Student 58 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 45 7%
Other 105 17%
Unknown 126 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 147 24%
Medicine and Dentistry 116 19%
Nursing and Health Professions 76 13%
Social Sciences 46 8%
Neuroscience 13 2%
Other 50 8%
Unknown 154 26%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 55. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 29 August 2020.
All research outputs
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Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Altmetric has tracked 17,131,911 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 97th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,627 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 24.7. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 276,767 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 182 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its contemporaries.