Mediators and moderators of a psychosocial intervention for children affected by political violence

Wietse A. Tol, Ivan H. Komproe, Mark J.D. Jordans, Alden L. Gross, Dessy Susanty, Robert D. MacY, Joop T.V.M. De Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors examined moderators and mediators of a school-based psychosocial intervention for children affected by political violence, according to an ecological resilience theoretical framework. Method: The authors examined data from a cluster randomized trial, involving children aged 8-13 in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia (treatment condition n = 182, waitlist control condition n = 221). Mediators (hope, coping, peer/emotional/play social support) and moderators (gender, age, family connectedness, household size, other forms of social support, exposure to political violence, and displacement) of treatment outcome on posttraumatic stress symptoms and function impairment were examined in parallel process latent growth curve models. Results: Compared with the waitlist group, those receiving treatment showed maintained hope, increased positive coping, maintained peer social support, and increased play social support. Of these putative mediators, only play social support was found to mediate treatment effects, such that increases in play social support were associated with smaller reductions in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Furthermore, the authors identified a number of moderators: Girls showed larger treatment benefits on PTSD symptoms; girls, children in smaller households, and children receiving social support from adults outside the household showed larger treatment benefits on function impairment. Conclusions: Findings provide limited evidence for an ecological resilience theoretical framework. On the basis of these findings, the authors recommend a stronger separation between universal prevention (e.g., resilience promotion through play) and selective/indicated prevention (e.g., interventions aimed at decreasing posttraumatic stress symptoms). Play-based interventions should be careful to exclude children with psychological distress. In addition, treatment effects may be augmented by selecting girls and socially vulnerable children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-828
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • PTSD
  • function impairment
  • mediators
  • moderators
  • political violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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