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


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.

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Correspondence to Betty Pfefferbaum.

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Pfefferbaum, B., Nitiéma, P. & Newman, E. The Effect of Interventions on Functional Impairment in Youth Exposed to Mass Trauma: a Meta-Analysis. Journ Child Adol Trauma 13, 127–140 (2020).

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  • Children
  • Disaster
  • Functional impairment
  • Mass trauma
  • Psychological interventions
  • Terrorism
  • War
  • Youth