Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown

Second Advisor

Kelly Kinnish

Abstract

Traumatic experiences occurring during childhood is an increasing public health concern. Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), which is the sexual abuse of a minor for economic gain, can be considered a complex trauma, as often this experience includes entrapment, isolation, frequent relocation, and prolonged physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. CSEC victims have a particularly high risk for negative mental health outcomes, such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, which requires trauma-focused care. Trauma- Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is the gold standard treatment approach for children and adolescents that have experienced sexual abuse. TF-CBT is an evidence-based practice designed to target negative mental health outcomes associated with traumatic experiences, including PTSD, depression and anxiety, and externalizing behavior problems. A network of highly trained therapists was established in Georgia to serve the CSEC population. The current research study examined responses from therapists following an advanced TF-CBT CSEC training workshop. A primary objective of this study was to assess needs identified by the providers while considering suggestions for improved applications of TF-CBT with CSEC clients. Results from this study reaffirm the benefits of using TF-CBT with CSEC clients, but emphasizes the need for additional TF-CBT CSEC-specific resources to be developed.

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