EMDR treatment for children with PTSD: results of a randomized controlled trial

Nord J Psychiatry. 2007;61(5):349-54. doi: 10.1080/08039480701643464.


The objective of the study was to examine the efficacy of EMDR treatment for children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared with untreated children in a waiting list control group (WLC) participating in a randomized controlled superiority trial (RCT). Thirty-three 6-16-year-old children with a DSM-IV diagnosis of PTSD were randomly assigned to eight weekly EMDR sessions or the WLC group. The Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Scale for Children (PTSS-C scale) was used in interviews with children to evaluate their symptoms and outcome. Post-treatment scores of the EMDR group were significantly lower than the WLC indicating improvement in total PTSS-C scores, PTSD-related symptom scale, and the subscales re-experiencing and avoidance among subjects in the EMDR group, while untreated children improved in PTSD-non-related symptom scale. The improvement in re-experiencing symptoms proved to be the most significant between-group difference over time. The results of the present exploratory study including a limited number of children with PTSD are encouraging and warrant further controlled studies of larger samples of children suffering from PTSD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Desensitization, Psychologic / methods
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waiting Lists