Telehealth Delivery of the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention is Associated With Reduced Posttraumatic Stress in Children and Caregivers

Child Maltreat. 2024 Feb 20:10775595241233230. doi: 10.1177/10775595241233230. Online ahead of print.


This study evaluated whether telehealth delivery of the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) was associated with posttraumatic stress symptom reduction for children exposed to potentially traumatic events and their caregivers. The Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention is a brief (5-8 session), evidence-based, trauma-focused mental health treatment developed for implementation with children and caregivers in the early phase of the trauma response. Within traditional in-person outpatient settings, CFTSI has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing posttraumatic stress symptoms and reducing or interrupting Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in trauma-exposed youth and their caregivers, including those with extensive trauma histories. For the present study, 9 agencies that provided CFTSI via telehealth in 2020 and 2021 provided data for analysis. The sample included 129 racially and ethnically diverse caregiver-child dyads who completed CFTSI via telehealth. Paired samples t-tests revealed significant reductions in child and caregiver posttraumatic stress symptoms from pre-to post-CFTSI. Effect sizes were large and consistent with or stronger than prior studies of CFTSI implemented in person. Preliminary findings also indicated high levels of caregiver satisfaction. Current findings are particularly noteworthy given the chronic trauma exposure in the sample. The Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention delivered via telehealth is a viable treatment option which can increase flexibility for clinicians, families, and organizations.

Keywords: child ptsd/trauma; evidence-based treatment; posttraumatic stress disorder; telehealth; trauma.