The effects of motivation-adaptive skills-trauma resolution (MASTR) - Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) on traumatized adolescents with conduct problems


Objective.- This dissertation explored the effectiveness of a treatment package, Motivation-Adaptive Skills-Trauma Resolution (MASTR) in combination with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This intervention was assessed in a sample of traumatized adolescents manifesting conduct problems (CPs) admitted to youth protective services. CP adolescents have been found to be particularly treatment-resistant and the treatments used with them often neglect to target the trauma that many of these youths have faced. Therefore, it seemed promising to implement a trauma-focused treatment with these youths that accounts for their resistance to treatment. MASTR-EMDR was studied with this population due to the favorable findings in the few studies assessing its use with high-risk populations. In addition to examining the effects of this treatment with CP youth exposed to various types of trauma, a particular focus was given to victims of sexual abuse (SA). This type of trauma seemed particularly suited for EMDR due to its circumscribed nature, which may be more easily worked through in this treatment that targets one trauma at a time.

Method.- Participants in the first study were 40 adolescents (ages 13-17) exhibiting CPs and exposed to trauma in youth protective services. A subsample (n = 30), consisting of victims of SA, was included in the second study. Participants in both studies were randomly assigned to MASTR-EMDR treatment or to a wait list condition where they were offered routine care. Self-report questionnaires and semi- structured interviews were administered to participants and one of their parents or caregivers by independent evaluators at three points in time: pre-treatment, post-treatment (12 weeks later) and follow-up (12 weeks after post-treatment). These measures evaluated trauma history, trauma-related sequelae, CPs, social competence and internalizing problems. The MASTR-EMDR sessions were administered once a week over a 12 week period, with each session lasting a maximum of 1.5 hours.

Results.- ANCOVAs and repeated measures ANCOVAs were used to assess treatment effects and the maintenance of gains at a 3-month follow-up. As predicted, MASTR-EMDR led to significant gains in outcome measures compared to routine treatment with both samples. In addition, gains were maintained at follow-up.

Conclusions.- This dissertation supports the use of MASTR-EMDR in populations exposed to general trauma and SA who exhibit CPs. This research was innovative in its implementation of a novel treatment-approach in youth protective services, where empirically-supported treatments are necessary and sometimes lacking. Therefore, the results have both clinical and scientific value and can help pave the way toward more trauma-focused treatments for CP youth, more evidence-based practices in youth protective services as well as enrich current understanding of the effects of this treatment approach.[Author Abstract]






Leechen Farkas

Original Work Citation



“The effects of motivation-adaptive skills-trauma resolution (MASTR) - Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) on traumatized adolescents with conduct problems,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 15, 2021,

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