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.