The Efficacy of a Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for War-Affected Young Migrants Living in Australia: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial
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Background: Preventative and treatment programs for people at risk of developing psychological problems after exposure to war trauma have mushroomed in the last decade. However, there is still much contention about evidence-based and culturally sensitive interventions for children. The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of the Teaching Recovery Techniques in improving the emotional and behavioral outcomes of war-affected children resettled in Australia. Methods and Findings: A cluster randomized controlled trial with pre-test, post-test, and 3-month follow-up design was employed. A total of 82 participants (aged 10-17 years) were randomized by school into the 8-week intervention (n = 45) or the waiting list (WL) control condition (n = 37). Study outcomes included symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, internalizing and externalizing problems, as well as psychosocial functioning. A medium intervention effect was found for depression symptoms. Participants in the intervention condition experienced a greater symptom reduction than participants in the WL control condition, F(1, 155) = 5.20, p = 0.024, partial ?(2) = 0.07. This improvement was maintained at the 3-month follow-up, F(2, 122) = 7.24, p = 0.001, partial ?(2) = 0.20. Conclusions: These findings suggest the potential benefit of the school and group-based intervention on depression symptoms but not on other outcomes, when compared to a waiting list control group. Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12611000 948998.
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