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Breaking the Cycle II: Girls in Recovery from Life Stress (GIRLS) Study

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2005, $641,318)

Despite falling crime rates, more adolescent girls are arrested and incarcerated in the United States today than ever before. Girls from minority groups are over-represented in the juvenile justice system. Although males are more often involved in the criminal justice system than females, PTSD prevalence estimates for girls and women in criminal justice settings are higher than those for boys or men. In juvenile justice settings, as many as two-thirds of all girls may have PTSD, compared to about one-third of boys. These findings underscore the need to address the ill effects of exposure to traumatic stressors in the lives not only of boys and men but also of girls and women who, as a result of living in impoverished, violent, or crime-involved families or communities, are at high risk for both PTSD and involvement in the juvenile justice system. The proposed study will be the first randomized trial of two promising manualized educational and therapeutic interventions for complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to test their efficacy for the reduction of delinquency and substance abuse by girls with PTSD who are involved in the juvenile justice system: Trauma Adaptive Recovery Group Education and Therapy (TARGET); and Life Skills/Life Story (LS/LS).


The University of Connecticut Health Center is conducting a randomized clinical trial comparing a psychosocial intervention for traumatic stress (TARGET), to Enhanced Treatment as Usual (ETAU). They hope to determine TARGET's effectiveness in reducing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, impulsivity, aggression, and juvenile delinquency. The project's long-term goal is to reduce the risk of adult legal, vocational, and psychosocial problems.


Date Created: September 6, 2005