Impact of Caregiver Factors on Youth Service Utilization of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in a Community Setting

Shannon Self-Brown, Ashwini Tiwari, Betty Lai, Sarah Roby, Kelly Kinnish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an increasingly available evidence-based therapy that targets the mental health symptoms of youth who have experienced trauma. Limited research has examined how to engage and retain families in TF-CBT services in community settings. Using a mixed-methods approach, the goal of this exploratory study was to identify caregiver factors that impact youth enrollment and completion of community-delivered TF-CBT. The study included 41 caretakers of youth referred to therapy at a local child advocacy center following a forensic assessment substantiating youth trauma exposure. Caregiver factors examined include caregiver demographics, trauma exposure, and mental health symptomology. Results from multivariate logistic regressions indicate that caregivers reporting more children residing in the household were significantly more likely to enroll youth in therapy (OR 2.27; 95 % CI 1.02, 5.03). Qualitative analyses further explicate that parents with personal trauma or therapy experiences expressed positive opinions regarding therapy services for youth, and were more likely to enroll in or complete services. Findings suggest that caregivers with personal traumatic experience and related symptomatology view therapy as important and are more committed to their child receiving therapy. Future research on service utilization is warranted and should explore offering parental psychoeducation or engagement strategies discussing therapy benefits to parents who have not experienced trauma and related mental health symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1871-1879
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Engagement
  • Posttraumatic stress symptomology
  • Service utilization
  • TF-CBT
  • Youth trauma exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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