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Brief Reports   |    
Effectiveness RCT of a CBT Intervention for Youths Who Lost Parents in the Sichuan, China, Earthquake
Ying Chen, M.D.; Wen Wu Shen, M.S.; Kamko Gao, M.A.; Chow S. Lam, Ph.D.; Weining C. Chang, Ph.D.; Hong Deng, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201200470
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Dr. Chen, Mr. Shen, and Dr. Deng are with the Mental Health Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China. Mr. Shen is co-first author and Dr. Deng is corresponding author (e-mail:rhdeng88@hotmail.com). Ms. Gao is with the Youth Development Foundation, Hong Kong, China. Dr. Lam is with the Department of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Dr. Chang is with the Institute of Mental Health, Duke University–National University of Singapore Graduate School of Medicine, Singapore.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association


Objective  Many children who lost parents in the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, experienced symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. This randomized controlled study compared the treatment effectiveness of short-term cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with a general supportive intervention and with a control group of nontreatment.

Methods  Thirty-two Chinese adolescents were randomly assigned to three treatment groups. Participants were compared for psychological resilience (Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale), symptoms of PTSD (Children’s Revised Impact of Events Scale), and depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) at baseline, after treatment, and three-month follow-up.

Results  CBT was effective in reducing PTSD and depressive symptoms and improved psychological resilience. General support was more effective than no intervention in improving psychological resilience.

Conclusions  Short-term CBT group intervention seems to be a robust intervention for natural disaster victims. Short-term CBT group intervention was more effective than the general supportive intervention and the no-treatment group in enhancing psychological resilience and reducing PTSD and depression among adolescents who had lost parents in the earthquake. The general supportive intervention was effective only in improving psychological resilience.

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Table 1Outcomes for 32 adolescent earthquake survivors who received six weeks of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), general support, or no intervention
Table Footer Note

a Children’s Revised Impact of Events Scale, 13-item Chinese version. Possible scores range from 0 to 65, with higher scores indicating more severe trauma.

Table Footer Note

b CBT versus control, p<.01

Table Footer Note

c CBT versus general support, p<.05, versus control, p<.01

Table Footer Note

d Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Possible scores range from 0 to 60, with higher scores indicating greater severity. A score of ≥18 indicates depression.

Table Footer Note

e Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale. Possible scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more resilience.

Table Footer Note

f CBT versus control, p<.05

Table Footer Note

g General support versus control, p<.01



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