This paper assesses treatment outcomes for sexually abused, preschool aged children and their parents, comparing the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral intervention to nondirective supportive treatment.
The authors report on their examination of treatment outcomes for sexually abused, preschool aged children and their parents; they randomly assigned 67 children and their parents to either cognitive-behavioral therapy, adapted for sexually abused preschool children (CBT-SAP), or to nondirective supportive therapy (NST). Treatment consisted of 12 individual sessions for both the child and parent, monitored for integrity with the therapeutic model through intensive training and supervision, use of treatment manuals, and rating of audio-taped sessions. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist, the Child Sexual Behavior Inventory, and the Weekly Behavior Report to measure a variety of emotional and behavioral symptoms. Within-group comparison of pretreatment and posttreatment outcome measures demonstrated that while the NST group did not change significantly with regard to symptomatology, the CBT-SAP group had highly significant symptomatic improvement on most outcome measures. Repeated-measures analyses of variance demonstrated group and time interactions on some variables as well. Clinical findings also supported the effectiveness of the CBT-SAP intervention over NST. Results indicate strong preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of a specific cognitive-behavioral treatment model for sexually abused preschool children and their parents. Publisher Abstract Provided