Group Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy with Former Child Soldiers and other War-affected Boys in the DR Congo: A Randomised Controlled Trial.

John McMullen, Paul O'Callaghan, Ciaran Shannon, Alastair Black, John Eakin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BackgroundThe Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been home to the world’s deadliest con?ict since World War II and is reported to have the largest number of child soldiers in the world. Despite evidence of the debilitating impact of war, no group-based mental health or psychosocial intervention has been evaluated in a randomised controlled trial for psychologically distressed former child soldiers.

MethodA randomised controlled trial involving 50 boys, aged 13–17, including former child soldiers (n = 39) and other war-affected boys (n = 11). They were randomly assigned to an intervention group, or wait-list control group. The intervention group received a 15-session, group-based, culturally adapted Trauma-Focused Cognitive–Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) intervention. Assessment interviews were completed at baseline, postintervention and 3-month follow-up (intervention group).

ResultsAnalysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) demonstrated that, in comparison to the wait-list control group, the TF-CBT intervention group had highly signi?cant reductions in posttraumatic stress symptoms, overall psychosocial distress, depression or anxiety-like symptoms, conduct problems and a signi?cant increase in prosocial behaviour (p < .001 for all). Effect sizes were higher when former child soldier scores were separated for sub-analysis. Three-month follow-up of the intervention group found that treatment gains were maintained.

Conclusions: A culturally modifed, group-based TF-CBT intervention was effective in reducing posttraumatic stress and psychosocial distress in former child soldiers and other war-affected boys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1241
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume54
Issue number11
Early online date11 Oct 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Group Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy with Former Child Soldiers and other War-affected Boys in the DR Congo: A Randomised Controlled Trial.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this