Listen protect connect for traumatized schoolchildren: A pilot study of psychological first aid

Marizen Ramirez, Karisa Harland, Maisha Frederick, Rhoda Shepherd, Marleen Wong, Joseph E. Cavanaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background: Listen Protect Connect (LPC), a school-based program of Psychological First Aid delivered by non-mental health professionals, is intended to support trauma-exposed children. Our objective was to implement LPC in a school setting and assess the effectiveness of LPC on improving psychosocial outcomes associated with trauma. Methods: A pilot quasi-experiment was conducted with middle school children self-identified or referred to the school nurse as potentially exposed to stressful life experiences. LPC was provided to students by the school nurse, and questionnaires were administered at baseline, 2-, 4- and 8-weeks to assess life stressors, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, social support, and school connectedness. A total of 71 measurements were collected from 20 children in all. Although a small sample size, multiple measurements allowed for multivariable mixed effects models to analyze changes in the repeated outcomes over time. Results: Students who received the intervention had reduced depressive and posttraumatic stress symptoms from baseline throughout follow-up period. Total social support also increased significantly from baseline through 8-weeks, and school connectedness increased up to 4-weeks post-intervention. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the potential of LPC as a school-based intervention of Psychological First Aid. Future randomized trials of LPC are needed, however.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
JournalBMC Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 27 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge Cedar Rapids Community School District nurses Sally Immerfall, Sharon Neilly, Monica Piersall, Susan Rummelhart, Jan Schneider, and Connie Trautman, and the parents and students from Cedar Rapids who participated in this study. We also thank Danielle Pettit-Majewski, MPH, our research assistant, and Corinne Peek-Asa, MPH, PhD, the Director of the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center, who provided feedback to M.Ramirez in the design of this study. This research was funded by the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Ramirez et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


  • Child
  • Intervention studies
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders
  • Schools


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