Pilot Randomized Control Trial: Efficacy of a Group-Based Psychosocial Program for Youth with PTSD in the Brazilian Favelas

J Child Adolesc Trauma. 2020 Nov 2;14(3):335-345. doi: 10.1007/s40653-020-00328-8. eCollection 2021 Sep.


The study aimed to evaluate Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) delivered to Brazilian youth who experienced drug violence in one Favela. Thirty children, 8 to 14 years, were randomly assigned to TRT (n = 14) or to a treatment as usual group (n = 16) involving boxing/martial arts. Youth received five 90-min sessions over successive weeks. Standardized measures assessed Posttraumatic Stress and Depression at 2 weeks pre and post-test. An exploratory assessment of posttraumatic growth was also utilized. An interview with group leaders explored perceptions of delivering TRT within the favela. Medium effect sizes were found for PTSD and Depression, and a small effect size for posttraumatic growth. Group leaders emphasized understanding the favela context for program adaptation. In conclusion, TRT was found to be effective for children with PTSD and Depression who experienced drug violence in a Brazilian favela. TRT is recommended for future delivery. Larger scale RCTs are needed in Brazilian favelas.

Keywords: Depression; Drug gangs; Favelas; PTSD; Youth.