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Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse - a Comparison of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Ordinary Care in Child Mental Health Care

Conference contribution
Authors Ole Hultmann
Ulf Axberg
Anders G Broberg
Published in European Conference on Domestic Violence
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Links https://ccnorway.eventsair.com/Quic...
Keywords family violence, psychotherapy, trauma, child mental health care
Subject categories Applied Psychology

Abstract

The aim of this randomized controlled study was to test if trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) had a better effect on trauma symptoms and general mental symptoms compared to treatment as usual (TAU) in patients who had witnessed intimate partner violence and/or were abused. Ninety-three patients (61 girls and 32 boys) aged five to 17 years old were recruited during a visit to an outpatient child and adolescent mental health care unit. Patients were interviewed with a structured interview to assign a diagnosis. They also answered a series of structured questionnaires. Patients were randomly assigned to TF-CBT or TAU. Patients were reassessed six months after the treatment's start and again after 12 months. To our surprise, TF-CBT and TAU had an equivalent, medium to large effect on trauma symptoms and, to some degree, even a positive effect on symptoms of anxiety, depression and conduct problems. We believe the TAU intervention was optimized in several ways. The therapists working with/applying TAU were highly skilled in trauma treatment and more than half of them used eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). It is worthy to note that the therapists' advanced knowledge in family violence may play an important role when treatment modalities are compared. It beckons an interesting discussion about which treatment conditions researchers should compare when designing their studies.

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