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This paper reports on: (1) an evaluation of a common elements treatment approach (CETA) developed for comorbid presentations of depression, anxiety, traumatic stress, and/or externalizing symptoms among children in three Somali refugee camps on the Ethiopian/Somali border, and (2) an evaluation of implementation factors from the perspective of staff, lay providers, and families who engaged in the intervention.
This project was conducted in three refugee camps and utilized locally validated mental health instruments for internalizing, externalizing, and posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms. Participants were recruited from either a validity study or from referrals from social workers within International Rescue Committee Programs. Lay providers delivered CETA to youth (CETA-Youth) and families, and symptoms were re-assessed post-treatment. Providers and families responded to a semi-structured interview to assess implementation factors.
Children who participated in the CETA-Youth open trial reported significant decreases in symptoms of internalizing (d = 1.37), externalizing (d = 0.85), and posttraumatic stress (d = 1.71), and improvements in well-being (d = 0.75). Caregivers also reported significant decreases in child symptoms. Qualitative results were positive toward the acceptability and appropriateness of treatment, and its feasibility.
This project is the first to examine a common elements approach (CETA: defined as flexible delivery of elements, order, and dosing) with children and caregivers in a low-resource setting with delivery by lay providers. CETA-Youth may offer an effective treatment that is easier to implement and scale-up versus multiple focal interventions. A fullscale randomized clinical trial is warranted.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a brief parenting intervention, ‘Parents Make the Difference‘(PMD), on parenting behaviors, quality of parent-child interactions, children's cognitive, emotional, and behavioral wellbeing, and malaria prevention behaviors in rural, post-conflict Liberia.
A sample of 270 caregivers of children ages 3–7 were randomized into an immediate treatment group that received a 10-session parent training intervention or a wait-list control condition (1:1 allocation). Interviewers administered baseline and 1-month post-intervention surveys and conducted child-caregiver observations. Intent-to-treat estimates of the average treatment effects were calculated using ordinary least squares regression. This study was pre-registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01829815).
The program led to a 55.5% reduction in caregiver-reported use of harsh punishment practices (p < 0.001). The program also increased the use of positive behavior management strategies and improved caregiver–child interactions. The average caregiver in the treatment group reported a 4.4% increase in positive interactions (p < 0.05), while the average child of a caregiver assigned to the treatment group reported a 17.5% increase (p < 0.01). The program did not have a measurable impact on child wellbeing, cognitive skills, or household adoption of malaria prevention behaviors.
PMD is a promising approach for preventing child abuse and promoting positive parent-child relationships in low-resource settings.
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