About two-thirds of children and adolescents younger than 18 years will experience at least one traumatic event, such as an accident, natural or man-made disaster
, accident or school shooting
. But little evidence exists on the best way to help those children recover and avoid long-term, negative consequences, according to a study sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the March 2013 Pediatrics.
The studies described a wide variety of psychotherapeutic interventions. Only a few psychological treatments were shown to help children in the short term; no medications
were shown to have benefit. No studies attempted to replicate findings of effective interventions, and none provided insight into how therapeutic interventions may influence children’s long-term development.
The findings of this study should serve as a call to action, according to the authors. Far more research is needed to provide definitive guidance on providing treatment to children exposed to traumatic events.