Adolescent Trauma Treatment in Integrated Primary Care: A Modified Delphi Study
Stephen Premo, Jessica Lynee
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Early stressors like trauma can lead to developmental changes that have life-long negative health consequences (Merikangas et al., 2010; Anda et al., 2006). Approximately 1 in 4 youth experience substantial trauma during their developmental years (Merikangas et al., 2010; Duke, Pettingell, McMorris, and Borowsky, 2010). Such findings suggest the need for early intervention and treatment for adolescents exposed to traumatic events and adversity. Ideally, adolescents could be treated within primary care settings where parents overwhelmingly seek services for their children. Primary care settings are sought out at a 94% to 97% rate of services as compared to only a 4% to 33% rate of parents seeking out mental health services (Guevara et al., 2001). Unfortunately, no adolescent trauma-informed interventions have yet been adapted for use in primary care (Glowa, Olson, and Johnson, 2016). This study aimed to fill this critical gap between adolescent mental health issues associated with trauma and adverse childhood experiences and the lack of treatment in integrated primary care settings. The need for trauma-informed treatment for adolescents who have experienced trauma and adverse experiences is especially salient as evidence-based treatment for adolescents in this setting is limited. A modified Delphi approach was employed to address this gap in the research. Two rounds of questionnaires and focus groups were utilized with a panel of experts and youth stakeholders to gain consensus on treatment recommendations. Ultimately, expert panelists and youth stakeholders identified 59 recommendations for adolescent trauma treatment to be delivered in integrated primary care settings.
General Audience Abstract
Childhood trauma can have negative health, social, and educational outcomes that extend into adulthood and over one’s lifespan (Black, Woodworth, Tremblay, & Carpenter, 2012; Merikangas et al., 2010). Approximately 1 in 4 youth today experience trauma (Duke et al., 2010). Trauma can include a variety of things such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; being the victim of a crime; witnessing violence in the home; living through a natural disaster or experiencing an accident (Anda et al., 2006; APA, 2017). The frequency of trauma in adolescence suggests the need for early intervention and treatment. Ideally, adolescents could be treated within primary care settings where parents and adolescents frequently seek care services. Unfortunately, no adolescent trauma interventions have been created for this setting (Glowa, Olson, & Johnson, 2016). This study was designed to improve the treatment of adolescent trauma in primary care settings. For this research study a modified Delphi technique was used. Two rounds of questionnaires and focus groups were utilized with participants that consisted of a panel of experts from the field and youth aged 14-18 years old. Ultimately, the study participants made 59 recommendations for adolescent trauma treatment to be delivered in primary care settings.
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