Trauma-focused cognitive–behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) for interpersonal trauma in transitional-aged youth.

Wilma Peters, Simon Rice, Judith Cohen, Laura Murray, Carsten Schley, Mario Alvarez-Jimenez, Sarah Bendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following interpersonal trauma in transitional-aged youth (TAY), aged 15 to 25, is highly prevalent; however, evidence-based interventions have rarely been studied. Method: A single-group pre-/posttest study was conducted at headspace Sunshine, Melbourne, Australia, evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, safety, tolerability, and potential clinical effectiveness of trauma-focused cognitive–behavioral therapy (TF-CBT). Results: An intent-to-treat analysis was conducted for N = 20 participants (65% female, n = 13) who attended a mean of 15 TF-CBT sessions over 25 weeks. At the end of treatment, only 1 of the 16 participants with a baseline PTSD diagnosis still met diagnostic criteria. Significant improvements were also noted for self-report measures of PTSD (d = –.83), anxiety (d = –.74), and depression (d = –.76). A minority of participants reported a brief exacerbation in symptoms of PTSD (n = 8) and anxiety and depression (n = 5) during stabilization and directly before and/or after the trauma-narration phase. However, all symptoms resolved at the end of treatment. The majority of participants (85%, n = 17) rated the intervention as helpful. Conclusion: Regardless of the expected temporary symptom exacerbation, the results indicated that TF-CBT was safe, tolerable, and acceptable. Transitional-aged youth is an emerging area of research. With limited research available on this age group to inform evidence-based practice, it is recommended that a randomized controlled trial is conducted to determine if TF-CBT (Cohen et al., 2017) can be effectively translated to this underresearched age group. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • depression
  • interpersonal trauma
  • posttraumatic stress
  • transitional-aged youth
  • trauma-focused cognitive– behavioral therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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