The Effect of Interventions on Functional Impairment in Youth Exposed to Mass Trauma: a Meta-Analysis

  • Betty PfefferbaumEmail author
  • Pascal Nitiéma
  • Elana Newman
Original Article


This study examined the benefit of psychosocial interventions on functional impairment in youth exposed to mass trauma. A random effects meta-analysis was used to estimate the overall effect in 15 intervention trials identified through a literature review. The moderator analysis examined how the effect of intervention differed across types of populations receiving the intervention (targeted or non-targeted samples), characteristics of intervention delivery (individual or group application and number of sessions), and the context of intervention administration (country income level). The results revealed a significant small effect on functional impairment (Hedges’ g = 0.33; 95%CI = (0.16; 0.50); p = 0.0011). None of the moderators explained the heterogeneity in intervention effect, perhaps due to the small number of trials. The effect of the interventions on functional impairment and on posttraumatic stress were positively correlated. The current analysis provides preliminary evidence that interventions can improve functioning in youth exposed to mass trauma, but the mechanisms, moderators, and duration of benefit are yet unknown.


Children Disaster Functional impairment Mass trauma Psychological interventions Terrorism War Youth 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Disclosure of Interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts to report.

Ethical Standards and Informed Consent

Formal consent was not required for this literature review and analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, College of MedicineUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Management Information Systems, Price College of BusinessUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TulsaTulsaUSA

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