Behavioral and pharmacological interventions for the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders with children exposed to maltreatment

Chad E. Shenk, Brooks Keeshin, Heather E. Bensman, Anneke E. Olson, Brian Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a well-established relation between exposure to child maltreatment and the onset and course of multiple, comorbid psychiatric disorders. Given the heterogeneous clinical presentations at the time services are initiated, interventions for children exposed to maltreatment need to be highly effective to curtail the lifelong burden and public health costs attributable to psychiatric disorders. The current review describes the most effective, well-researched, and widely-used behavioral and pharmacological interventions for preventing and treating a range of psychiatric disorders common in children exposed to maltreatment. Detailed descriptions of each intervention, including their target population, indicated age range, hypothesized mechanisms of action, and effectiveness demonstrated through randomized controlled trials research, are presented. Current limitations of these interventions are noted to guide specific directions for future research aiming to optimize both treatment effectiveness and efficiency with children and families exposed to maltreatment. Strategic and programmatic future research can continue the substantial progress that has been made in the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders for children exposed to maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number173298
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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