Treating sexually abused children with posttraumatic stress symptoms: a randomized clinical trial

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2000 Nov;39(11):1347-55. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200011000-00008.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of child and caregiver participation in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of sexually abused children with posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Method: Thirty-six sexually abused children (aged 5-17 years) were randomly assigned to a child-alone cognitive-behavioral treatment condition, a family cognitive-behavioral treatment condition, or a waiting-list control condition.

Results: Compared with controls, children who received treatment exhibited significant improvements in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and self-reports of fear and anxiety. Significant improvements also occurred in relation to parent-completed measures and clinician ratings of global functioning. In general, parental involvement did not improve the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Maintenance of improvement was evident at a 12-week follow-up assessment.

Conclusions: Cognitive-behavioral treatment was useful, but further research is required on caregiver involvement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy
  • Male
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome