Objective: To assess feasibility and estimate effect size of a self-directed online intervention designed to prevent persistent posttraumatic stress after acute trauma.
Methods: Children aged 8-12 years with a recent acute medical event were randomized to the intervention (N = 36) or a 12-week wait list (N = 36). Posttraumatic stress, health-related quality of life, appraisals, and coping were assessed at baseline, 6, 12, and 18 weeks.
Results: Most children used the intervention; half completed it. Medium between-group effect sizes were observed for change in posttraumatic stress severity from baseline to 6 weeks (d = -.68) or 12 weeks (d = -.55). Exploratory analyses suggest greatest impact for at-risk children, and a small effect for intervention initiated after 12 weeks. Analysis of covariance did not indicate statistically significant group differences in 12-week outcomes.
Conclusions: This pilot randomized controlled trial provides preliminary evidence that a self-directed online preventive intervention is feasible to deliver, and could have an effect in preventing persistent posttraumatic stress.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01653288.
Keywords: adjustment; posttraumatic stress; randomized controlled trial.
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