for people ages 7-18 (full criteria)
at San Francisco, California and other locations
study started
estimated completion



This study is designed to examine three treatment conditions for traumatized youth: Cue-Centered Treatment (CCT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Treatment as Usual (TAU) to determine which treatment works most effectively for which youth. The investigators would like to determine feasibility of training on the treatment interventions. In addition, this study aims to inform development of systems of care for chronically traumatized youth. The investigators hope to determine whether 1) TF-CBT and CCT will have better outcomes than TAU, 2) Child characteristics predict better outcome in either TF-CBT or CCT and to identify which phases of treatment are most effective, and 3) Imaging findings will be predictors of improved outcome. This research is important because while there are many existing trauma interventions for youth, little is known about what is most essential in those interventions. This study will shed light on what components of treatment are most effective. Furthermore, there are minimal guidelines on how to select the most appropriate intervention for a particular child. This study will contribute to that knowledge by informing which interventions are suited best for which youth.

Official Title

Child Characteristics, Neuromarkers, and Intervention Components Impacting Treatment Outcome: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Cue-Centered Treatment (CCT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Treatment as Usual (TAU)


The children will be referred from Stanford Youth Solutions and University of California, San Francisco. Caregivers will undergo a telephone screening according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Written consent for participation will be obtained from participants, parents and/or legal guardians. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions: TF-CBT, CCT, or TAU. Assessments will be administered at 4 time points: 1) pre-treatment, 2) mid-therapy, 3) post-treatment, and 4) three month follow-up. A medical/developmental history form will be completed only pre-treatment. The UCLA PTSD Reaction Index (PTSD-RI) parent and child versions will be used to assess exposure to traumatic events and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Given that trauma has high comorbidity with depression and anxiety disorders these symptoms will be assessed using the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) and Children's Depression Inventory (CDI). Executive functioning will be assessed by both child and parent report using the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF).

In addition, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRs) will be conducted at each of these time points to assess tasks of working memory, response inhibition, and facial recognition. The investigators will be using the NIRScout which is a portable NIRS recording unit. NIRS technology uses specific wavelengths of light, introduced at the scalp, to enable the noninvasive measurement of changes in the relative ratios of deoxygenated hemoglobin (deoxy-Hb) and oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) in the capillary beds during brain activity.


Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic PTSD Child Trauma Cue-Centered Treatment Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy fNIRs CCT TF-CBT Posttraumatic stress NIRX Cue-Centered Treatment (CCT) Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT) NIRScout


You can join if…

Open to people ages 7-18

  1. Exposure to at least one traumatic event and endorsement of any trauma symptoms on the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index for DSM-V
  2. Ages 7-18
  3. Willingness to participate in therapy and fNIRs imaging
  4. Caregiver willing to participate in the study
  5. Perpetrator of the traumatic event is not living in the home with the child

You CAN'T join if...

  1. Low cognitive functioning (IQ less than 70)
  2. Substance dependence as defined by DSM criteria
  3. Autism/Schizophrenia
  4. Clinically significant medical illness


  • University of California, San Francisco not yet accepting patients
    San Francisco California 94110 United States
  • Stanford Youth Solutions accepting new patients
    Sacramento California 95826 United States


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Stanford University
Study Type
Last Updated