Secondary Prevention of Posttraumatic Stress in Young Children After Injury
Trauma during early childhood was once a very neglected topic for research, clinical practice, and policy. Fortunately, our recognition and knowledge of this important and challenging issue has grown exponentially over the past 20 years. This is critical given the fact that exposure to trauma occurs at the highest rates during early childhood (e.g., neglect, abuse, injury) and that young children have a unique set of emotional and physical vulnerabilities that place them at high risk of poor outcomes.
In this talk I will first shortly review the epidemiology of trauma in young children, the current classification of trauma-related disorders in preschoolers (ICD 11, DSM-5) and the current research on psychological consequences of acute accidental injury as one of the common types of trauma in young children. I will then present our long-lasting efforts to develop and evaluate secondary preventive interventions for young children after acute injury trauma. Specifically, the parent-oriented CARE intervention which was recently developed together with researchers from the University of Queensland (AU) will be depicted in detail. Results from an international multisite RCT will be presented that show promising evidence for accelerating recovery from posttraumatic stress in young injured children, ages 1-6 years. Implications of these findings for research and clinical practice will be discussed.