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Trauma-Focused Interventions for Justice-Involved and At-Risk Youth: A Meta-Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018
87 pages
The findings and methodology are presented for a study that systematically reviewed and statistically synthesized all available research on the effectiveness of trauma-informed treatment programs for justice-involved youth and youth at-risk of justice system involvement who experienced some form of trauma in their lives.
Examples of trauma-informed programs included in the review are Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT); Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT); Trauma Affect Regulation: a Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET); Trauma-Focused Functional Family Therapy (FFT); and Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). The systematic search identified 29 publications that met eligibility criteria for the review, representing 30 treatment-comparison contrasts. Six of these evaluated the effectiveness of trauma-informed programs for justice-involved youth, and the remaining 24 evaluated programs for at-risk children and youth. Results were extracted in relation to delinquency, problem behaviors, aggression, antisocial behavior, substance use, and post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD) outcomes. The positive evidence was most convincing for CBT-type programs, particularly TF-CBT; however, the findings risk publication selection bias. Additional high-quality randomized controlled trials of these programs are needed, particularly for youth in the justice system. 20 figures

Date Published: December 1, 2018