An effect study of ‘Creative Expressive Arts Therapy’ for sexual abused children in South Africa and a possible moderation effect of social support.
Overstraten Kruijsse, M.E. van
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Introduction: In this research a ‘Creative Expressive Arts Therapy (CEAT)’ is piloted for sexually abused children in South Africa, at the Teddy Bear Clinic for abused children. The effect of CEAT on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms was evaluated and social support was measured as possible moderator. Methods: This study included 13 participants in the age from 8 to 12 years, 4 children were on a waiting list and 9 children participated in 10 sessions of CEAT. PTSD symptoms were measured with the Young Child PTSD Checklist (YCPC) and the PTSD section of the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children- Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL). The perceived social support was measured with the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Pre and post CEAT measurements were conducted and compared. Results: CEAT did not decrease the PTSD symptoms of the children, measured with the YCPC and K-SADS-PL, and results did not show significant differences between the therapy and control group. Neither did the analysis show evidence for social support as moderator between CEAT and PTSD symptoms. The presumption is made that the results are caused by the amount of methodological constraints. For parents did indicate to see a difference after CEAT in the children in the therapy group; they showed a decrease in aggressive behaviour, sadness, loneliness and nightmares. Conclusion: The results show no statistical evidence of a positive effect of CEAT, although qualitative data show a positive effect of CEAT on PTSD symptoms. This supports the use of CEAT with sexually abused children. Besides statistical results, this research found numerous recommendations for future research in the South African context.