Matching interventions to children’s mental health needs: Feasibility and acceptability of a pilot school-based trauma intervention program.
Brown, E. J., McQuaid, J. H., Farina, L., Ali, R. & Winnick-Gelles, A. (2006). Education and Treatment of Children, 29, 257-286.
What was our goal? This project’s aim was to develop and implement a school-based, trauma-specific intervention program for inner-city children exposed to the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th, 2001. We examined the feasibility of implementing such a program, and students’ response to it./p>
How did we gather our data? 63 children were assessed using measures of PTSD, generalized anxiety, depression, and behavior problems. All of these children were given a 10-session, skill-based classroom intervention. Following the classroom intervention, children were re-assessed and those who continued to meet criteria for PTSD were offered individualized therapy to enhance coping skills and discuss the trauma. The assessment was repeated following the individualized intervention./p>
What did we learn? Children who received the classroom-based intervention, as a group, showed reductions in emotional and behavioral problems. After the classroom-based intervention, some of these children still had PTSD and were offered the individual interventions, which reduced symptoms. The pattern of findings suggests that each intervention may target a separate group of symptoms./p>
How does this study impact our work? The study suggests that the best return-on-investment is to start with universal interventions that are embedded in the school day. As a second step, the program can offer more intensive/extensive therapy only to those who don’t respond to the universal approach. This conserves the most costly resources to be applied only where actually needed.
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