Systematic Review of the evidence and treatment approaches: psychosocial and mental health care for children in war

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While mostly positive, the results of the outcome studies are not yet convincing. The scarcity of rigorous studies, the diversity of researched interventions, and the conditions and diversity of results make firm conclusions difficult.

Key practitioner messages:

  • There is a lack of rigorous studies evaluating psychosocial care for children affected by war. Though some treatment evaluation studies are promising, effect sizes of controlled studies are moderate and several studies have methodological flaws.
  • Despite the PTSD bias of evaluation studies, papers describing treatment approaches support a paradigm shift from tertiary to primary care, with the main focus on community-based approaches.
  • Most descriptive papers lack a comprehensive presentation of treatment modalities and either report single interventions or are limited to position statements.

There is a growing body of literature on interventions addressing psychosocial wellbeing and mental health of children affected by violence in low- and middle-income countries. Scarcity of rigorous studies, diversity of interventions, and mixed results of evaluations demonstrate a need to identify evidence-based interventions.

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