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

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 48 Issue: 9 Dated: 2021 Pages: 1261-1277
Date Published
17 pages

Since the impact of trauma on children and youth has potentially serious and long-lasting negative consequences, including increased involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, the objective of this study was to meta-analyze research on the effectiveness of trauma-informed treatment programs for justice-involved youth and youth at risk of justice system involvement who have experienced some form of trauma.


This systematic search identified 29 publications that met the eligibility criteria and represent 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. The findings suggest that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), including trauma-focused CBT, is effective. In addition, there was weak evidence that programs using a cognitive restructuring component or participant creation of a trauma narrative were slightly more effective than programs without these features. Additional high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2021