Mental health interventions for African children: A meta-analytic review

Tiamo Katsonga-Phiri, Jarrett T. Lewis, Maxwell Murray, David L. DuBois, Kathryn E. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With a mandate to increase the capacity to support global mental health, this is the first meta-analysis with the aim of examining where the field stands in understanding the effectiveness of psychological interventions created for, and implemented with, children in African countries who experience stress and trauma. Searches for empirical randomized-controlled trials of psychological interventions with children in African countries were carried out in major databases. The current study combines the results of 26 studies to examine overall effectiveness of these interventions and goes on to examine the moderators of effectiveness looking at eight different potential moderators. Two moderators reach the level of significance, namely that mental health outcomes and age moderate the effectiveness of an intervention. Interventions targeting trauma were most effective. Some instances in which the null hypothesis could not be rejected turned out to be positive for the purposes of this study e.g. the education level of facilitators and the format of the group, do not show a significant impact on the effect size of these interventions. This study concludes that the creation and development of psychological interventions for African children should continue, and potential moderating variables should be more closely examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106096
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • African
  • Children
  • Meta-analysis
  • Psychological interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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