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Psychosocial Interventions for Maltreated and Violence-Exposed Children


*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Judith A. Cohen, M.D., Allegheny General Hospital, Four Allegheny Center, Eighth Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 [e-mail:].


Child sexual, physical, and emotional abuse as well as child neglect and domestic violence, community violence, and Childhood Traumatic Grief may result in significant and long-lasting emotional and behavioral difficulties. This article reviews randomized controlled studies that have assessed child mental health outcomes for maltreated and violence-exposed children. Key points of this review include the following: (1) maltreated and violence-exposed children typically experience more than one of these types of traumas; (2) effective psychosocial treatments are available to address Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems in these children; (3) it is likely that treatments which effectively reduce mental health symptoms in children exposed to one type of child maltreatment or violence exposure will also be effective for other or multiple types; and (4) mental health outcomes are not the only important outcomes to address in future treatment or intervention efforts. These future directions for treatment intervention research are addressed.