Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS)

An Evidence-Based Practice


The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program is a group intervention for children in grades six through nine. The program is aimed at relieving symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and general anxiety among children exposed to trauma. Types of traumatic events that participants have experienced include witnessing or being a victim of violence, experiencing a natural or man-made disaster, being in an accident or house fire, or suffering physical abuse or injury.

Symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety among children can include disorganized or agitated behavior, recurrent distressing recollections of an event, nightmares, attempts to reenact an event, intense psychological or physiological distress from cues that symbolize an aspect of the event, diminished interest or participation in certain activities, feelings of detachment or estrangement, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and outbursts of anger. Children in CBITS work on processing traumatic memories, expressing their grief, learning relaxation skills, challenging upsetting thoughts, and improving their social problem-solving. These techniques and skills are learned through the use of drawings and through talking in both individual and group settings.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to relieve symptoms of PTSD, depression, and general anxiety among children exposed to trauma.

Results / Accomplishments

Two studies of the CBITS program utilized rigorous evaluation methodology, studied groups with low rates of attrition, and found significant reductions in PTSD and depression symptoms for treatment children when compared with a control group. Additionally, the CBITS program demonstrated effectiveness at reducing parent-reported psychosocial dysfunction among participating children.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Lisa H. Jaycox
RAND Corporation
1200 South Hayes Street
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 413-1100 x5118
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Health / Children's Health
Education / School Environment
RAND Corporation
Promising Practices Network
Date of publication
Jun 2005
Arlington, VA
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Target Audience