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Federal Sponsors
  • NIMH
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • NINR
  • National Institute of Nursing Research
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

Principal Investigators
  • Betty Pfefferbaum, MD, JD University of Oklahoma
    Health Sciences Center
  • Alan M. Steinberg, PhD University of California,
    Los Angeles
  • Robert S. Pynoos, MD, MPHUniversity of
    California, Los Angeles
  • John Fairbank, PhDDuke University

Childrens Psychosocial Services in Disasters
  • Gil Reyes, PhD
  • Associate Dean for Clinical Training at Fielding
    Graduate University

Learning Objectives
  • Upon completion of this Module, participants will
    be able to
  • Recognize the current status and limitations of
  • disaster mental health services and
  • Describe the goals and elements of psychological
    first aid and other early interventions
  • Identify the reasons screening is needed after
  • Describe the rationale for providing child
  • mental health interventions in schools

Types of Services
  • Educational Interventions
  • Pre-disaster preparedness
  • Red Cross Masters of Disaster
  • Injury prevention
  • Coping self-efficacy
  • Stress-inoculation
  • Post-disaster coping education
  • Mastery of reactions
  • Verbal group processing of reactions and coping
  • Class-room projects
  • Coloring books

Reyes et al. 2005
Types of Services
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Psychological First Aid (e.g., Pynoos Nader,
  • Establishing rapport and comforting presence
  • Protecting and reassuring
  • Mobilizing support
  • Connecting with significant others
  • Crisis Hotlines (e.g., Ponton Bryant, 1991)
  • Suicide prevention
  • Substance abuse intervention
  • Coping assistance
  • Often operate indirectly through parenting

Reyes et al. 2005
Types of Services
  • Crisis Intervention (continued)
  • Psychological debriefing (e.g., Stallard Law,
  • Adapted from adult format (e.g., CISD)
  • Verbal group processing of reactions and coping
  • 1 or 2 lengthy (e.g., 3 hr.) group sessions
  • Share perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about
    the event
  • Reflect on treatment theyd received
  • Explore psychological effects of traumatic
  • Discuss problems and methods of coping
  • Normalize response similarities

Reyes et al. 2005
Types of Services
  • Crisis Intervention (continued)
  • Caregiver Support
  • Parenting support
  • Informational support
  • Coping support
  • Respite care
  • Disaster Childcare
  • Critical Response Childcare (aviation events and

Reyes et al. 2005
Types of Services
  • Community Outreach
  • Mobilization, Consultation, and Capacity-Building
  • Political and Social Leaders
  • Primary Healthcare Systems
  • Pediatric facilities and providers
  • Mental Health Systems
  • Community mental health centers
  • Public and private provider networks
  • Childcare facilities and providers
  • Schools
  • Teacher and other personnel education
  • Screening
  • Direct education of students

Reyes et al. 2005
Types of Services
  • Group Interventions
  • General emphasis groups
  • Addressing fears and concerns
  • Stress management education
  • Coping education and modeling
  • Issue oriented groups
  • Grief groups (Saltzman et al. 2001)

Reyes et al. 2005
  • National Initiatives modeled after the National
    Child Traumatic Stress Network
  • Raise the profile and priority of childrens
    psychosocial needs following potentially
    traumatic events.
  • Improve dissemination of accurate and useful
    information and training.
  • Developing a National Public Health Model for
    disaster mental health
  • Address and redress the existing inadequacies
    (surge capacity).
  • Emphasize population level preventive efforts.
  • De-emphasize immediate direct clinical
  • Define and incorporate key roles for
    pediatricians, schools, and other systems of care
    for children (not mental health specific).
  • Coordinate efforts across multiple disaster
    systems of care.

Reyes et al. 2005
  • Develop culturally sensitive and appropriate
    approaches for serving a diverse range of
  • Recognize subtle cultural differences and how
    they inform differential responsiveness to a
    generalized model of care.
  • Adapt generalized models of care in collaboration
    with key cultural informants.
  • Dont assume that proximity or similarity confer
  • Living nearby
  • Looking alike
  • Migrating from the same country, region, or
  • Sharing a salient demographic characteristic
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation

Reyes et al. 2005
Public Mental Health Approach
  • Pynoos, Goenjian, Steinberg, 1998

  • Sources of population-based mental health
    interventions for children involve three levels
    of organization
  • Governmental and Social Institutions
  • Mobilization of public, private, and volunteer
  • Educational Systems
  • Healthcare Systems
  • Mental Health Systems
  • School-based services
  • Community-based intervention teams

Pynoos et al. 1998
  • Screening
  • Triage and assessment
  • Traumatic exposure (objective and subjective)
  • Loss exposure
  • Acute difficulties
  • Ongoing adversities
  • Traumatic reminders
  • Recent traumatic exposure or loss (one year)
  • Current levels of distress
  • Mental health interventions

Pynoos et al. 1998
  • Augment childrens self-report with other
  • Parent reports
  • Teacher reports
  • Conduct periodic screening to track the course of
  • Surveillance for more than trauma
  • Depression
  • Adverse circumstantial stressors
  • Choose continuous scales over categorical
  • Use results to promote effective dedication of
    mental health resources where most needed
  • Example of school-based services

Pynoos et al. 1998
Disaster Mental Health Services for Children
  • Covell et al. 2006
  • Hoven et al. 2002
  • Stuber et al. 2002
  • Fairbrother et al. 2004
  • Pfefferbaum et al. 2003

September 11 Project Liberty Services
  • 753,015 service logs (inception through 2003)
  • Group education
  • Individual (including family) counseling
  • Agencies
  • Large and small mental health agencies
  • Consumer-run organizations
  • Faith-based social service agencies
  • Agencies serving particular ethnic, cultural, or
    racial groups

Covell et al. 2006
Project Liberty Services for Children 1
  • 15 of service logs for first and follow-up
    visits were for children either individually or
    in family counseling
  • 9 of first visits were for children
  • Significantly fewer than represented in census
  • 69 of first visits for children were for those
    aged 12 to 17 years
  • 41 of first visits for children were provided in
  • Children were more likely than adults to receive
    follow-up visits

Covell et al. 2006
Project Liberty Services for Children - 2
  • Elementary school children were more likely than
    older (12-17 yr) children to exhibit
  • Isolation and withdrawal
  • Anxious and fearful reactions
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Older children more similar to adults and more
    likely than younger children to exhibit
  • Avoidance and numbing reactions
  • Abuse of substances
  • Possible major depressive disorder and PTSD
    appeared to increase with age

Covell et al. 2006
September 11 School-based Study
2/3 of children with PTSD and impaired
functioning had not sought treatment 6 months
after the attacks
Representative sample of gt 8000 students in
grades 4-12 6 months after the attacks
Hoven et al. 2002
September 11 Counseling
22 received counseling 58 of those receiving
counseling received them at school
Telephone survey of 112 parents in lower
Manhattan 5-8 weeks after incident
Stuber et al. 2002
September 11 Counseling
10 received counseling 44 in schools
Of those receiving counseling 47 had severe or
very severe posttraumatic stress 50 had
moderate posttraumatic stress 3 had mild
posttraumatic stress1/3 had received counseling
before 9/11
NYC parents 4-5 months after incident
Fairbrother et al. 2004
Early Psychological Interventions
  • NIMH 2002
  • APA 1954
  • Everly and Flynn 2006
  • NCTSN and NCPTSD 2006
  • ARC
  • IFRC

Early Psychological Interventions
  • Recommendations from
  • Mental Health and Mass Violence Evidence-Based
    Early Psychological Intervention for
    Victims/Survivors of Mass Violence. A Workshop to
    Reach Consensus on Best Practices
  • (NIMH 2002)

Hierarchy of Needs
  • Early assessment and intervention should focus on
    a hierarchy of needs
  • Survival
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Health (physical and mental)
  • Triage
  • Orientation (to immediate service needs)
  • Communicate with family, friends, and community
  • Other forms of psychological first aid

NIMH 2002
Assumptions and Principles
  • In the immediate post-event phase, expect normal
  • Presuming clinically significant disorder in the
    early post-event phase is inappropriate except in
    those with a pre-existing condition

NIMH 2002
Key Aspects of Early Intervention
  • Psychological first aid
  • Needs assessment
  • Monitoring the recovery environment
  • Outreach and information dissemination
  • Technical assistance, consultation, and training
  • Fostering resilience, coping, and recovery
  • Triage
  • Treatment

NIMH 2002
Technical Assistance, Consultation, and Training
  • Improve capacity of organizations and caregivers
    to provide what is needed to
  • Reestablish community structure
  • Foster family recovery and resilience
  • Safeguard the community
  • Provide assistance, consultation, and training to
    relevant organizations, other caregivers and
    responders, and leaders

NIMH 2002
Monitor Rescue and Recovery Environment
  • Observe and listen to those most affected
  • Monitor the environment for toxins and stressors
  • Monitor past and ongoing threats
  • Monitor services that are being provided
  • Monitor media coverage and rumors

NIMH 2002
Outreach and Information Dissemination
  • Offer information/education and therapy by
    walking around
  • Use established community structures
  • Distribute flyers
  • Host websites
  • Conduct media interviews and programs and
    distribute media releases

NIMH 2002
Fostering Resilience and Recovery
  • Foster but do not force social interactions
  • Provide coping skills training
  • Provide risk assessment skills training
  • Provide education on
  • Stress responses
  • Traumatic reminders
  • Coping
  • Normal versus abnormal functioning
  • Risk factors
  • Services
  • Offer group and family interventions
  • Foster natural social supports
  • Care for the bereaved
  • Repair organizational fabric

NIMH 2002
Needs Assessment
  • Assess current status of
  • Individuals
  • Groups
  • Populations
  • Institutions/systems
  • Ask
  • How well needs are being addressed
  • What the recovery environment offers
  • What additional interventions are needed

NIMH 2002
  • Conduct clinical assessments using valid and
    reliable methods
  • Refer when indicated
  • Identify vulnerable, high-risk individuals and
  • Provide for emergency hospitalization

NIMH 2002
  • Reduce or ameliorate symptoms or improve
    functioning through
  • Individual, family, and group psychotherapy
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Short- or long-term hospitalization

NIMH 2002
  • Follow-up should be offered to those at risk of
    developing adjustment difficulties including
  • Who have ASD or clinically significant symptoms
  • Who are bereaved
  • Who have preexisting psychiatric disorder
  • Who have required medical or surgical attention
  • Whose exposure was intense and of long duration
  • Who request it

NIMH 2002
Expertise, Skills and Training for Providers of
Early Intervention
  • Providers must
  • Practice within the scope of their expertise and
  • Practice within the structure responsible for
    coordinating the response
  • Make referrals when appropriate
  • Avail themselves of training

NIMH 2002
Research and Evaluation
  • The scientific community has an obligation to
    examine the relative effectiveness of early
  • A national strategy should be developed to ensure
    that adequate resources are available for
  • A standard taxonomy and terminology are needed
    for program evaluation to identify
  • The most significant variables to monitor
  • Post-event physical and psychosocial environment
  • Subgroups of the affected population including
  • Mental health interventions that are provided
  • Characteristics of those deemed the most
    appropriate providers
  • The broader research community should be informed
    of need for research

NIMH 2002
Key Research Questions
  • What ethical issues are introduced by widespread
    use of unproven interventions?
  • How acceptable is research to potential subjects?
  • What is the best process for seeking informed
    consent what information should be given in the
    consent process?
  • Can a standard taxonomy and terminology be
  • How effective is public education?
  • Is screening in itself an effective intervention?
  • Can screening cause harm if so, what is the
    nature of the harm and is the risk offset by risk
    of failing to screen?
  • Is it acceptable to screen if care is not
    provided or accessible?
  • How feasible are studies of early interventions ?
  • How can clinical demand be balanced with
    inadequacies in the empirical evidence-base?

NIMH 2002
Psychological First Aid
  • Goals
  • Should be concerned only with the immediate
  • Restore people to reasonably good functioning.
  • Make people as comfortable as possible until more
    complete care can be arranged.
  • Five types of reactions
  • Normal reactions to stress (transient states, not
    to be confused with abnormal adjustment).
  • Panic (a rare, but contagious risk).
  • Immobility or numb detachment.
  • Hyperactivity and over confidence (hypomanic).
  • Somatic complaints.
  • Four principles of care
  • Accept peoples right to their own feelings
  • Accept a persons limitations as real.
  • Size up a casualtys potentialities as accurately
    and quickly as possible.
  • Accept your own limitations in a relief role.

American Psychiatric Association 1954
Psychological First Aid
  • Protect survivors from further harm
  • Reduce physiological arousal
  • Mobilize support for those who are most
  • Keep families together and facilitate reunions of
    loved ones
  • Provide information and foster communication and
  • Use effective risk communication techniques

NIMH 2002
Principles and practical procedures for acute
psychological first aid training for personnel
without mental health experience.
  • Physical First Aid
  • Stabilize physiological functioning
  • Mitigate physiological distress and dysfunction
  • Achieve return to acute adaptive physiological
  • Facilitate access to next level of care
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Stabilize psychological and behavioral
    functioning by meeting physical needs and then
    addressing psychological needs
  • Mitigate psychological distress and dysfunction
  • Achieve return to acute adaptive psychological
    and behavioral functioning
  • Facilitate access to continued care

Everly Flynn 2006
Psychological First Aid
  • Several organizations have developed manuals to
    guide the delivery of psychological first aid
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red
    Crescent Societies
  • American Red Cross
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network and
    National Center for PTSD

International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies (IFRC) PFA - Modules
  • Community-based Psychological Support (PFA)
  • Stress Responses and Coping Skills
  • Developing Supportive Communication
  • Promoting Community Self-help
  • Caring for Populations with Special Needs
  • Helping the Helper

IFRC, 2003
American Red Cross (ARC) PFA - Actions
  • Psychological first aid actions
  • Make a connection
  • Help people be safe
  • Be kind, calm, and compassionate
  • Meet peoples basic needs
  • Listen
  • Give realistic reassurance
  • Encourage good coping

ARC, 2006
NCTSN and NCPTSD PFA Core Actions and Goals - 1
  • Contact and engagement
  • To respond to contacts initiated by survivors, or
    initiate contacts in a non-intrusive,
    compassionate, and helpful manner
  • Safety and comfort
  • To enhance immediate and ongoing safety and
    provide physical and emotional comfort
  • Stabilization
  • To calm and orient emotionally overwhelmed or
    disoriented survivors
  • Information gathering current needs and concerns
  • To identify immediate needs and concerns, gather
    additional information, and tailor PFA

NCTSN and NCPTSD PFACore Actions and Goals - 2
  • Practical assistance
  • To offer practical help to survivors in
    addressing immediate needs and concerns
  • Connection with social supports
  • To help establish brief or ongoing contacts with
    primary support persons or other sources of
    support, including family members, friends, and
    community helping resources
  • Information on coping
  • To provide information about stress reactions and
    coping to reduce distress and promote adaptive
  • Linkage with collaborative services
  • To link survivors with available services needed
    at the time or in the future

  • Limitations and Rationale for Child Screening

Reasons Screening Needed
  • Adults may not recognize or acknowledge
    childrens reactions and needs
  • Identify need for services
  • Focus limited services on those with greatest

Stallard et al. 1999
Adults May Underestimate Childrens Distress
  • Concordance between parent- and child-report of
    disaster reactions is low
  • Children do not want to burden parents
  • Parents deny problems in children
  • Parental distress decreases ability to identify
    child suffering

McDermott Palmer 1999
  • May increase communication about childrens
    reactions and concerns
  • May facilitate service delivery decisions and the
    appropriate use of scarce resources
  • May increase the demand for services

McDermott Palmer 1999
Potential Problems With Screening
  • False positives may result in
  • Unnecessary treatment with attendant cost and
  • Inappropriate labeling of children
  • Focus on illness behavior
  • False negatives may create a barrier to later

McDermott Palmer 1999
Value of Screening - 1
  • Simplicity
  • Easy to administer
  • Administered by paraprofessional
  • Acceptability
  • Acceptable to those being screened usually
  • Accuracy
  • True measure of what is being assessed

Cochrane and Holland 1971
Value of Screening - 1
  • Expense
  • Cost is reasonable in relation to benefit of
    early detection
  • Precision (Repeatable)
  • Consistent results in repeated trials
  • Sensitivity
  • Test is positive when the condition is present
  • Specificity
  • Test is negative when the condition is not present

Cochrane and Holland 1971
Psychoeducation and Supportive Group Therapy
  • Galante and Foa 1986

Elementary School Children Exposed to Earthquake
in Italy
  • Three phase process
  • Pretest at 6 months
  • Treatment with children in village with largest
    number of children at risk according to pretest
  • Posttest at 18 months

Galante Foa 1986
Treatment Sample and Program
  • Sample
  • All grade 1-4 students in village with largest
    number of children at risk
  • Techniques included
  • Normalizing reactions
  • Projective techniques
  • Psychoeducation
  • Review of death, funerals, and the future
  • Survival techniques

Galante Foa 1986
Session Objectives and Activities
  • Communicate about the event
  • Draw and listen to stories about San Franciscos
  • Discuss fears and demonstrate that fear was
  • Draw and listen to story about frightened child
    too shy to ask for help
  • Discuss drawings and feelings including what they
    did when afraid
  • Discuss myths and beliefs about earthquakes
  • Draw and listen to story about child fearful that
    the earthquakes would recur
  • Discuss beliefs
  • Discharge feelings about the earthquake and place
    earthquake in the past
  • Make joint drawing of the community
  • Focus on what children did to resume a normal
    life after the earthquake
  • Release the power of death images and focus on
    the future
  • Role play and funeral rituals
  • Discuss the future of a new village
  • Develop the idea that children can take an active
    role in their own survival
  • Role play being parents teaching children to
    survive various emergencies
  • Raise topics associated with closure
  • Free drawing and discussion

Galante Foa 1986
Change in Risk Scores
Galante Foa 1986
Psychosocial Intervention After Hurricane Iniki
  • Chemtob et al. 2002

  • Sample
  • 4258 children in grades 2 6 from all 10 public
    elementary schools on island of Kauai (91 of the
    enrolled children) were screened to identify
    children for the intervention study
  • 248 children met criteria for treatment and were
    randomly assigned to
  • Group (176 children)
  • Individual (73 children)
  • 214 completed treatment
  • Methods
  • 2 years after hurricane, children with highest
    levels of trauma symptoms were randomly assigned
    to 1 of 3 consecutively treated cohorts
  • Children in the cohorts awaiting treatment served
    as wait-list controls
  • Within each cohort, children were randomly
    assigned to either individual or group treatment
    to allow comparison of the efficacy of the two
    treatment modalities
  • Instruments
  • Reaction Index
  • Semi-structured interview

Chemtob 2002
Chemtob et al. 2002
Treatment Eligible Sample
  • Demographics
  • 6 to 12 years of age (mean 8.2, SD 1.3)
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Hawaiian/part-Hawaiian 30
  • White 25
  • Filipino 20
  • Japanese 9
  • Compared to all screened children, treatment
    eligible children were more likely to
  • Fear death or injury to self
  • Fear death or injury to family
  • Have more intense fear reactions to hurricane
  • Be girls
  • Be poor

Chemtob et al. 2002
  • Groups included 4 to 8 children
  • Manual-based intervention with 4 weekly sessions
    using protocols that outlined session content and
    activities to elicit relevant material
  • Session 1 safety and helplessness
  • Session 2 loss
  • Session 3 mobilizing competence and anger
  • Session 4 ending and going forward

Chemtob 2002
Post-treatment lt Pre-treatment Follow-up (1 year)
lt Pre-treatment but not Post-treatment
Group and individual treatments did not differ in
efficacy Fewer children dropped out of group
Chemtob et al. 2002
Clinician Ratings
Random sample of 21 treated and 16 untreated
p .01
Chemtob et al. 2002
Cognitive Behavioral Group Psychotherapy
  • March et al. 1998

Sample and Design
  • 14 participants with PTSD completed treatment
  • 10 to 15 years of age
  • Single-incident stressor
  • 10 had 2 or more stressors
  • Recruited through schools
  • 18 weekly group sessions
  • Single case across setting design

March et al. 1998
Status at Initiation of Treatment
  • As a group, at the start of treatment,
    participants experienced mild to moderately
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Children with severe disruptive behavior were
  • Average duration of PTSD symptoms was
  • 1.5 years for younger participants
  • 2.5 years for older participants
  • None had received mental health treatment
  • Most were doing reasonably well in school

March et al. 1998
Significant group differences occurred early and
persisted None relapsed
March et al. 1998
Outstanding Issues
  • The study did not ascertain
  • If CBT was unique in its effectiveness
  • Which specific aspects of the intervention were
    responsible for outcomes
  • If results would extend to children with more
    severe illnesses or comorbid conditions

March et al. 1998
Trauma/Grief Focused Group Psychotherapy
  • Goenjian et al. 1997

Trauma/Grief Focused Group Psychotherapy After
  • Early adolescents in severely damaged schools
    after a massive Armenian earthquake
  • 35 students received intervention
  • 29 students received no therapy
  • Intervention
  • Delivered over a 6 week period 1.5 years after
  • Included
  • 4 ½-hour group sessions in classroom
  • an average of 2 1-hour individual sessions
  • Focused on
  • Trauma
  • Traumatic reminders
  • Post disaster stresses and adversities
  • Bereavement and the interplay of trauma and grief
  • Developmental impact

Goenjian et al. 1997
  • Treated group
  • Improved in posttraumatic stress
  • No worsening in depression
  • Non-treated group
  • Worsening in posttraumatic stress
  • Worsening in depression
  • Treatment benefits did not appear transient and
    were evident 1.5 years after the intervention

Goenjian et al. 1997
Posttraumatic Stress after Treatment
Severity decreased in treated Severity increased
in not treated
1.5 Years No difference between treated and
non-treated groups 3 Years Treated lt
non-treated group 3 Years Treated 3-year
score lt pretreatment 3 Years Not treated
3-year score gt 1.5-year score
Goenjian et al. 1997
Depression after Treatment
Severity did not change in treated Severity
increased in not treated
1.5 years No difference between treated and
non-treated groups 3 years Treated lt
non-treated 3 years Treated no change from
1.5 years 3 years Non-treated score increased
from 1.5 years
Goenjian et al. 1997
  • Treatment may prevent worsening of posttraumatic
    stress and depression
  • Worsening in posttraumatic stress may be due to
    reminders treatment may have decreased
    reactivity to reminders
  • Increased severity of depression may have been
    due to
  • Increased severity of posttraumatic stress
  • Persistent severe posttraumatic stress
    interfering with grief resolution
  • Difficulty coping with secondary adversities

Goenjian et al. 1997
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Childhood
Traumatic Grief
  • Stubenbort et al. 2001
  • Cohen et al. 2004
  • Cohen et al. 2006

Group CBT for Bereaved Children
  • Sample 12 children (aged 5 12 years) and 18
    adults some parents of the children
  • Event Airplane crash with dramatic media
    portrayals of the event
  • Intervention 7 weeks of treatment with parallel
    child and adult groups

Stubenbort et al. 2001
Intervention Sessions
  • Introduction, definition, group treatment rules
  • Psychoeducation to normalize the experience and
    increase coping skills
  • Coping with traumatic death
  • Strengthening group cohesion by exploring loss
    and unfinished business
  • Continuing to explore loss and unfinished
  • Increasing coping skills
  • Closure and moving on

Stubenbort et al. 2001
  • Sample
  • 22 children (aged 6-17 years) with significant
    child traumatic grief and posttraumatic stress
    disorder symptoms
  • Childrens primary caretakers
  • Intervention
  • 16 week manual-based individual treatment with
    sequential trauma- and grief-focused components
  • 2 joint parent-child sessions in each module
  • Design open uncontrolled treatment design

Cohen et al. 2004
Intervention Components
  • Trauma-focused components
  • Improve affective modulation and stress reduction
    (sessions 1 to 4)
  • Trauma-specific exposure and cognitive processing
    (sessions 5 to 8)
  • Grief-focused components
  • Naming and accepting the loss (sessions 9 to 12)
  • Preserving positive memories and making meaning
    of the loss (sessions 13 to 16)
  • Two joint parent-child sessions in each module

Cohen et al. 2004
PTSD symptoms improved during the trauma-focused
component Grief improved during the trauma- and
grief-focused components

Cohen et al. 2004
p lt .001 p lt .01
  • Lack of a control group makes it impossible to
    determine if improvements represented treatment
    response or natural recovery
  • The small sample size, with no minority children
    other than African Americans, makes it impossible
    to generalize to diverse groups

Cohen et al. 2004
  • The study lends tentative support to the
    conceptualization of traumatic grief as the
    impingement of trauma symptoms on the normal
    grief process and to the importance of sequential
    treatment of trauma and grief
  • The final four sessions addressing positive
    aspects of grieving may have contributed to grief
    resolution or grief may have resolved on its own
    once trauma symptoms were treated
  • The study suggests the importance of including
    parents in treatment of children

Cohen et al. 2004
Teacher-mediated Intervention after 1999
Earthquake in Turkey
  • Wolmer et al. 2005

Advantages of Locating Interventions in Schools -
  • Disaster reactions may emerge in the context of
  • School settings provide access to children and
    the potential for enhanced compliance
  • School personnel are familiar with, and deal
    with, situational and developmental crises
  • School personnel have opportunities to observe
  • Schools are a natural support system where stigma
    associated with treatment is diminished
  • Services in schools help normalize childrens
    experiences and reactions
  • Classroom settings are developmentally-appropriate

Wolmer et al. 2003 Wolmer et al. 2005
Advantages of Locating Interventions in Schools -
  • Classroom settings provide
  • Predictable routines
  • Consistent rules
  • Clear expectations
  • Immediate feedback
  • Stimulus for curiosity and engaging learning
  • School-based interventions facilitate peer
    interactions and support which may prevent
    withdrawal and isolation
  • Supervision, feedback, and follow-up are possible
  • School curricula already address prevention in
    other mental health areas

Wolmer et al. 2003 Wolmer et al. 2005
Teachers as Clinical Mediators
  • Teachers may help as clinical mediators because
  • Occupy a central role in childrens lives
  • Are trusted by children and parents
  • May be amenable to being trained

Wolmer et al. 2003 Wolmer et al. 2005
Role of Teachers
  • Model childrens responses
  • Provide factual information and correct rumors
  • Reinforce coping skills
  • Facilitate mutual support
  • Identify children who are suffering
  • Prepare the class for future experiences
  • Encourage students to contribute to their family,
    school, and community

Wolmer et al. 2003
  • 202 displaced children
  • 44 boys, 56 girls
  • Mean age 8.2 years grades 1-5
  • Comparison sample of 101 children 300 miles away
    who were not directly affected
  • 46 boys, 54 girls
  • Mean age 8.83 years

Wolmer et al. 2003
  • Teachers interviewed children individually at
    school 4 months after the earthquake and before
    any interventions
  • Intervention lasted 4 weeks with 2 meetings per
  • Assessed 6 weeks after the intervention series
    was completed

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  • Traumatic Dissociation and Grief
  • Grief factor
  • Irritability
  • Guilt/anhedonia
  • Dissociative factor
  • Body/self distortions
  • Perceptual distortions
  • Child PTSD Reaction Index
  • 20 reactions
  • Traumatic exposure questionnaire
  • Risk index reflected extent of risk ranging from
    0 to 5

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  • Trained, supervised, and supported school
    leadership and teachers
  • Intervention consisted of 8 two-hour sessions of
    psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral
  • Teachers conducted the intervention over the
    course of 4 weeks

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Intervention Modalities
  • Modalities
  • Psychoeducational modules
  • Cognitive-behavioral techniques
  • Play activities
  • Documentation in personal diaries

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Intervention Sessions
  • Introductory session with parents to
  • Engage them
  • Provide information related to the program
  • Educate them about childrens disaster reactions
  • 8 two-hour sessions with children to
  • Restructure traumatic experiences
  • Deal with intrusive thoughts
  • Establish a safe place
  • Learn about the earthquake and prepare for future
  • Mourn the ruined city
  • Control body sensations
  • Confront posttraumatic dreams
  • Understand reactions in the family
  • Cope with loss, guilt, and death
  • Deal with anger
  • Extract life lessons
  • Plan for the future

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Results at 6 Weeks
Trauma and dissociative symptoms decreased Grief
symptoms increased
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Increased Grief Symptoms
  • Normal grief may have begun after other symptoms
    were relieved
  • Interventions may not have addressed depression
  • Children may have been more comfortable
    expressing grief symptoms after the intervention

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Grief at Follow-up
  • 26 children who still had moderate to severe
    posttraumatic stress were interviewed 6 months
    after treatment
  • Their grief score was significantly lower at
    follow-up than post-treatment and significantly
    higher than at pre-treatment

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Severe to Very Severe Posttraumatic Stress
  • The percent of children with severe to very
    severe posttraumatic stress, associated with a
    diagnosis of PTSD, decreased from 30 to 18, the
    latter similar to the 15 found in the baseline
    control sample

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Posttraumatic Stress Severity at 6 Months for
Children Who Received the Intervention
  • 33.5 remained stable
  • 39 decreased in severity
  • 27.5 increased in severity

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Children Without Symptoms
  • Reasons children without risks or without
    symptoms should participate
  • Only a minority were without risk or symptoms
  • Intervention had a preventive element and focused
    on rehabilitation of the whole school and intent
    to prevent children who participate from being
  • Asymptomatic children lent support to others and
    served as models for coping
  • Increase in grief was moderate and significantly
    decreased 6 months later

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Three Year Follow-up of Teacher-mediated
  • Sample 287 children from 3 schools
  • 9-17 years (mean 11.5)
  • 67 children participated and 220 did not
    participate in the earlier intervention
  • All 3 schools included both children who did and
    did not participate in the intervention
  • Groups were comparable on sex, age, and risk
  • Studied 3.5 years after the event with child,
    mother, and teacher (blind to which children
    participated) ratings

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Follow-up of Children Who Received the
Significant decrease post-intervention to 3 year
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Posttraumatic Stress Severity at 3 Years for
Children Who Received the Intervention
  • 30 remained stable
  • 41 decreased
  • 29 increased
  • 18 continued to have severe trauma symptoms

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Intervention and Comparison Group at Three Years
  • No significant differences between the two groups
    at 3 years in child self-report for
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • Grief
  • Dissociation

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Daily Functioning in Intervention and Comparison
Groups at Three Years
Intervention group had significantly higher
daily functioning in Academic performance Social
behavior General conduct
Predictors of daily functioning Functioning
before disaster Group (intervention v. no
intervention) Trauma symptoms
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Summary of Findings
  • Significant trauma and dissociative symptom
    decrease and grief symptom increase 6 weeks after
    the intervention
  • Significant symptom decrease over 3 years in
    posttraumatic stress, grief, and dissociation
  • A large proportion of both treated and untreated
    children reported moderate 30-35) or severe
    (17-18) posttraumatic stress
  • In some children, symptoms appeared within 6
    months and crystallized into the full-blown
    syndrome months or years later
  • Symptom levels similar in treated and untreated
    groups at 3 years
  • Teacher-rated functioning better in treated than
    untreated children
  • Correlations between childrens symptoms and
    daily functioning were small and non-significant
    supporting previous findings that children can
    function despite internal struggles

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Conclusions - 1
  • There is some evidence that treatments
    (psychosocial, psychoeducation, CBT, EMDR) are
    effective for posttraumatic stress grief and
    depression may be especially difficult to treat
  • There is some evidence for the sequential
    treatment of trauma and grief

Conclusions - 2
  • It remains unclear what elements of an
    intervention are responsible for effects
  • Interventions have not been compared thus, it is
    unclear if some interventions are better than
  • It remains unclear if interventions are superior
    to natural recovery