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Original Investigation |

Collaborative Care Intervention Targeting Violence Risk Behaviors, Substance Use, and Posttraumatic Stress and Depressive Symptoms in Injured Adolescents:  A Randomized Clinical Trial

Douglas Zatzick, MD1; Joan Russo, PhD2; Sarah Peregrine Lord, MA2; Christopher Varley, MD2; Jin Wang, MS, PhD1; Lucy Berliner, MSW3; Gregory Jurkovich, MD4; Lauren K. Whiteside, MD, MS5; Stephen O’Connor, PhD2; Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH6
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
3Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
4Trauma and Surgery Services, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, Colorado
5Division of Emergency Medicine, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
6Department of Pediatrics, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(6):532-539. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4784.
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Importance  Violence and injury risk behaviors, alcohol and drug use problems, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms occur frequently among adolescents presenting to acute care medical settings after traumatic physical injury.

Objective  To test the effectiveness of a stepped collaborative care intervention targeting this constellation of risk behaviors and symptoms in randomly sampled hospitalized adolescents with and without traumatic brain injury.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A pragmatic randomized clinical trial was conducted at a single US level I trauma center. Participants included 120 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years randomized to intervention (n = 59) and control (n = 61) conditions.

Interventions  Stepped collaborative care intervention included motivational interviewing elements targeting risk behaviors and substance use as well as medication and cognitive behavioral therapy elements targeting PTSD and depressive symptoms.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Adolescents were assessed at baseline before randomization and 2, 5, and 12 months after injury hospitalization. Standardized instruments were used to assess violence risk behaviors, alcohol and drug use, and PTSD and depressive symptoms.

Results  The investigation attained more than 95% adolescent follow-up at each assessment point. At baseline, approximately one-third of the participants endorsed the violence risk behavior of carrying a weapon. Regression analyses demonstrated that intervention patients experienced significant reductions in weapon carrying compared with controls during the year after injury (group × time effect, F3,344 = 3.0; P = .03). At 12 months after the injury, 4 (7.3%) intervention patients vs 13 (21.3%) control patients reported currently carrying a weapon (relative risk, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.11-0.90). The intervention was equally effective in reducing the risk of weapon carrying among injured adolescents with and without traumatic brain injury. Other treatment targets, including alcohol and drug use problems and high levels of PTSD and depressive symptoms, occurred less frequently in the cohort relative to weapon carrying and were not significantly affected by the intervention.

Conclusions and Relevance  Collaborative care intervention reduced the risk of adolescent weapon carrying during the year after the injury hospitalization. Future investigation should replicate this preliminary observation. If the finding is replicated, orchestrated investigative and policy efforts could systematically implement and evaluate screening and intervention procedures targeting youth violence prevention at US trauma centers.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00619255

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Figure 1.
Flow of Adolescent Participants Through the Randomized Clinical Trial
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Figure 2.
Self-reports of Carrying a Weapon by Treatment Group

Baseline time point (0 months) assesses weapon carrying in the year before the injury admission.

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