Numerous recent studies have shown that stress and trauma experienced in childhood can carry into adulthood, manifesting as many of the conditions massage therapists see on their tables each day, including headaches, trauma symptoms, arthritis and generalized pain.

New research shows that intervention soon after a traumatic event reduces odds of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children by 73 percent.

As many as 1 in 5 children will develop PTSD after experiencing a potentially traumatic event, such as a car accident, a physical or sexual assault, a sports injury or witnessing violence, according to a press release from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, which conducted the research.

The intervention process, called the “Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention,” includes improved communication between child and caregiver, “such as recognizing and managing traumatic stress symptoms and teaching coping skills,” the press release noted.

“This is the first preventative intervention to improve outcomes in children who have experienced a potentially traumatic event, and the first to reduce the onset of PTSD in kids,” said lead study author Steven Berkowitz, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and director of the Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery. “If this study is replicated and validated in future studies, this intervention could be used nationally to help children successfully recover from a traumatic event without progressing to PTSD.”

The study is running online in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

-Karen Menehan, editor in chief

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