Narrative exposure therapy for 7- to 16-year-olds: A randomized controlled trial with traumatized refugee children

Authors


  • We are grateful to all children who took part in the study. We further want to thank Britta Balliel, Dorothea Hensel-Dittmann, Silke Gotthardt, Nadja Jacob, and Michael Odenwald for their assistance. Research was supported by the European Refugee Fund and the DFG.

Abstract

The authors examined the effectiveness of narrative exposure therapy for children (KIDNET) in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in refugee children living in exile. Twenty-six children traumatized by organized violence were randomly assigned to KIDNET or to a waiting list. Significant treatment by time interactions on all PTSD-relevant variables indicated that the KIDNET group, but not the controls, showed a clinically significant improvement in symptoms and functioning. Success of the KIDNET group remained stable at 12-month follow-up. This study confirms previous findings that, if left untreated, PTSD in children may persist for an extended period. However, it also shows that it is possible to effectively treat chronic PTSD and restore functioning in traumatized refugee children in only 8 treatment sessions.

Ancillary