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Child-Parent Psychotherapy for Preschooler Witnesses of Domestic Violence Program

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of California, San Francisco Identifier:
First received: September 14, 2005
Last updated: September 17, 2013
Last verified: September 2013
This study will examine the efficacy of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) for the treatment of preschoolers exposed to marital violence.

Condition Intervention Phase
Domestic Violence Exposure
Behavioral: Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Preschooler Witnesses of Domestic Violence: A Preventive Intervention Program

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of California, San Francisco:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Child symptomatology (CBCL)
  • Traumatic stress symptomatology (DC 0-3 Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Parent-Child Relationship at posttreatment and 6 month follow-up.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Maternal symptomatology (Symptom Checklist Revised and Clinician Administered PTSD Scale)
  • Child cognitive functioning (WPPSI-R)

Estimated Enrollment: 60
Study Start Date: December 1996
Study Completion Date: September 2004
Primary Completion Date: September 2004 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Detailed Description:

This study examines the efficacy of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) for the treatment of preschoolers exposed to marital violence. Multi-ethnic preschool-mother dyads from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds were randomly assigned to CPP or to a case management plus community referral for individual treatment comparison group. It was hypothesized the children who received CPP treatment would show significantly greater improvement in general symptomatology and in traumatic stress symptoms than those in the comparison group.

There is growing recognition that, contrary to the long-standing assumption that young children are impervious to environmental stresses, preschoolers exposed to violence show increased rates of disturbances in self-regulation and in emotional, social and cognitive functioning (Osofsky, 2004; Pynoos et al., 1999; van der Kolk, 2003). The present study examines the efficacy of a relationship-based treatment approach involving the child and the mother. Dyads were randomly assigned to either the Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) treatment group or to a comparison group that consisted of monthly case management by an experienced Ph.D.-level clinician plus referrals for individual treatment in the community for mothers and child. We hypothesized that Child-Parent Psychotherapy would be more effective in alleviating children's traumatic stress symptoms and behavior problems because it focuses on improving the quality of the child-mother relationship and engages the mother as the child's ally in coping with the trauma. Treatment was offered for 50 weeks.


Ages Eligible for Study:   3 Years to 6 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • child 3-5 years old
  • child exposed to marital violence as confirmed by mother's report on the Conflict Tactics Scale 2 (Straus et al., 1996)
  • perpetrator was not living in the home.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • mother's documented abuse of the target child
  • current maternal substance abuse
  • homelessness
  • maternal mental retardation
  • maternal psychosis
  • child mental retardation or autistic-spectrum disorder
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00187772

United States, California
Child Trauma Research Project
San Francisco, California, United States, 94110
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of California, San Francisco
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D. University of California, San Francisco
  More Information

Responsible Party: University of California, San Francisco Identifier: NCT00187772     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21MH059661 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
IRB #HR 793-12912-06
Study First Received: September 14, 2005
Last Updated: September 17, 2013

Keywords provided by University of California, San Francisco:
domestic violence
intervention processed this record on May 24, 2017