Primary Care Interventions to Prevent or Treat Traumatic Stress in Childhood: A Systematic Review

Anna B. Flynn, Kate E. Fothergill, Holly C. Wilcox, Elizabeth Coleclough, Russell Horwitz, Anne Ruble, Matthew D. Burkey, Lawrence S. Wissow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objectives To systematically assess the evidence base for prevention and treatment of child traumatic stress in primary care settings. Data Sources PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, Scopus, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website, Google search. Study Eligibility Criteria, Participants, and Interventions Studies were eligible for inclusion if they described the results of intervention studies in a primary care setting addressing child traumatic stress. Study participants could include primary care providers, pediatric patients, and their parents or other caregivers. Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods Each study was assessed for inclusion, and each included study was assessed for risk of bias by 2 reviewers. Results We found 12 articles describing 10 different studies that met the inclusion criteria. The intervention approaches taken in the studies were diverse and included the implementation of screening programs or tools, training clinicians to recognize and discuss psychosocial issues with patients and their families, and providing primary care professionals with community resource lists. Nine out of 10 studies included in the review reported favorable results. Limitations Studies included in the review had relatively short follow-up periods, and the diversity of studies identified precluded the possibility of conducting a meta-analysis. Conclusions and Implications of Key Findings Findings suggest that interventions in pediatric primary care settings are feasible and can favorably affect clinical practices and families' outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number736
Pages (from-to)480-492
Number of pages13
JournalAcademic pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • adolescent
  • adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • child
  • child, preschool
  • infant
  • infant, newborn
  • posttraumatic
  • primary health care
  • primary prevention
  • secondary prevention
  • stress disorders
  • tertiary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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