Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review | 2019

Lost in Transition? Evidence-Based Treatments for Adolescents and Young Adults with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Results of an Uncontrolled Feasibility Trial Evaluating Cognitive Processing Therapy



Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not uncommon among adolescents and young adults (AYAs). Left untreated, transition to adulthood might be especially challenging and/or prolonged for AYAs. However, it is unclear whether AYAs are adequately represented in current PTSD treatment research and whether they benefit to the same degree as younger or older individuals. In the first part of the paper, we reflect on developmental considerations in the treatment of AYAs and give an overview of current age-specific results in PTSD treatment research. Furthermore, we review individual trauma-focused evidence-based treatments that were examined in AYAs over the last 10\xa0years. In the second part, we present data from an uncontrolled feasibility trial evaluating cognitive processing therapy (CPT) with some age-adapted modifications and an exposure component (written accounts). We treated 17 AYAs (aged 14 to 21) suffering from posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). At posttreatment, participants had improved significantly with respect to clinician-rated PTSS severity ( d \u2009=\u20091.32). Treatment gains were maintained throughout the 6-week and 6-month follow-ups. Results indicated that CPT, with only minor adaptations, was feasible and safe in AYAs. The recommendations for future research focus on the inclusion of young adults in trials with adolescents, more refined age reporting in clinical trials, and the encouragement of dismantling studies in youth. To conclude, clinical recommendations for caregiver involvement and the addressing of developmental tasks, motivational issues and emotion regulation problems are discussed.

Volume 23
Pages 122-152
DOI 10.1007/s10567-019-00305-0
Language English
Journal Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

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