Parent-Child Interaction Therapy for sexual concerns of maltreated children: A preliminary investigation

Brian Allen, Susan G. Timmer, Anthony J. Urquiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The current study examines whether an evidence-based treatment for externalizing behavior problems may reduce sexual concerns among children with maltreatment histories. An archival analysis identified 44 children between the ages of 3 and 8 exhibiting externalizing problems and co-morbid sexual concerns who were treated using Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). A second group of children receiving PCIT for externalizing behaviors without sexual concerns was included for comparison purposes (n = 143). Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks Tests indicated significant improvement among the group with sexual concerns, with 63.6% of children no longer displaying clinically significant sexual concerns at post-treatment. In addition, these children showed a decline in general externalizing problems comparable to that observed among the group of children receiving PCIT and not displaying sexual concerns. Lastly, logistic regression analyses showed that pre-treatment posttraumatic stress scores did not moderate improvement of sexual concerns, suggesting that posttraumatic stress-related sexual concerns may improve from PCIT treatment. These findings suggest that evidence-based parent training interventions, specifically PCIT, may successfully reduce sexual concerns among children who experienced maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-88
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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