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School-Based Mental Health Program for Traumatized Latino Immigrant Children

NCJ Number
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Volume: 42 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2003 Pages: 311-318
Date Published
March 2003
8 pages

This article reports on the methodology and findings of the pilot-test of a school mental health program for Latino immigrant students who had been exposed to violence in their communities.


This trauma-focused group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program for Latino immigrant students and their families developed from the work of a collaborative research team of school clinicians, educators, and researchers. The pilot-test of the project involved a quasi-experimental study conducted from January through June 2000. A total of 198 students in third through eighth grades with trauma-related depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were compared after receiving an intervention or remaining on a waiting list. The intervention consisted of a manual-based, eight-session group cognitive-behavioral therapy delivered in Spanish by bilingual, bicultural school social workers. Parents and teachers were eligible to receive psycho-education and support services. Students who received therapy (n=152) had significantly greater improvement in posttraumatic-stress-disorder and depressive symptoms compared with those on the waiting list (n=47) at 3-month follow-up, after adjusting for relevant covariates. These findings from the pilot-test show that this program can be implemented and evaluated in a school setting and produce a modest decline in trauma-related mental health problems. 5 tables and 45 references

Date Published: March 1, 2003