Evidence and Research

TARGET is the only intervention for traumatized youth in juvenile justice that has an evidence base with findings from several scientifically rigorous studies. 


If you are interested in doing your own research study or are applying for a grant to secure funds, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information about our fidelity monitoring, trainings, and research support. 

  • A randomized effectiveness study funded by SAMHSA was conducted comparing 9-session TARGET groups versus trauma-informed substance abuse groups (TAU) in three adult substance abuse treatment programs. Both approaches yielded a wide range of positive outcomes over a 6-month follow-up period; TARGET was superior to TAU in maintaining self-efficacy related to sobriety.

    Ford, J. D., & Russo, E. (2006). A trauma-focused, present-centered, emotional self-regulation approach to integrated treatment for post-traumatic stress and addiction: Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET). American Journal of Psychotherapy, 60, 335-355. Frisman, L. K., Ford, J. D., Lin, H., Mallon, S., & Chang, R. (2008). Outcomes of trauma treatment using the TARGET model. Journal of Groups in Addiction and Recovery, 3, 285-303.

  • In a three-year randomized clinical trial study, funded by

    the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, TARGET, delivered as a 12-session individual therapy for PTSD with sixty-one 13-17 year old delinquent girls, was superior to a gender-specific relational therapy in reducing PTSD avoidance/numbing and intrusive re-experiencing by > 50%.

    Ford, J. D., Steinberg, K., Hawke, J., Levine, J., &

    Zhang, W. (2012). Randomized trial comparison of

    emotion regulation and relational psychotherapies for

    PTSD with girls involved in delinquency. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 4 1, 2 7 - 3 7 . DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2012.632343.

  • In a three-year randomized clinical trial study, funded by the Department of Justice, TARGET, delivered as a 12 session individual therapy for PTSD with 147 low income urban mothers with PTSD (61% ethnoracial minority), was superior to treatment as usual (TAU) on a range of outcomes. It was superior to a validated social problem solving therapy on clinically-significant change and gains in emotion regulation and posttraumatic beliefs at post-test and further improved coping and relationships over a 6-month follow-up period.

    Ford, J. D., Steinberg, K., & Zhang, W. (2011). A

    randomized clinical trial comparing affect regulation

    and social problem-solving psychotherapies for mothers with victimization-related PTSD. Behavior Therapy, 42,

  • In a 2-year study funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, each Target session attended (delivered as a systemic intervention to 12-17 year old boys and girls in juvenile detention centers) was associated with a 22% decrease in disciplinary incidents and 37 fewer minutes of seclusion in the first 14 days of stay. In addition, youth with severe trauma histories/symptoms had 50% greater benefits.

    Ford, J. D., & Hawke, J. (2012). Trauma affect regulation psychoeducation group and milieu intervention outcomes in juvenile detention facilities. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 21(4), 365-384. DOI:10.1080/10926771.2012.673538.

  • In a State of Ohio Department of Youth Services quasi experimental field study with psychiatrically impaired adolescents in high security facilities, TARGET, delivered in groups and as a systemic intervention, was superior to treatment as usual (TAU) in reducing threats by youth and use of seclusion by staff (>50% reductions vs. 300-400% increases in TAU) and producing improvements in youths sense of hope/efficacy, mood regulation, and satisfaction with services, and reductions in problems with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, over a 2-year study period.

    Marrow, M., Knudsen, K., Olafson, E., & Becker, S.(2012). The value of implementing TARGET within a trauma-informed juvenile justice setting. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 5, 257-270.

  • In an ongoing 2-year randomized clinical trial study, funded by the Department of Justice, TARGET, delivered as a 10-session group therapy for PTSD with incarcerated women, was compared to a validated supportive group therapy (SGT). Both interventions achieved statistically significant reductions in PTSD and associated symptom severity and increased self-efficacy. Drop-out rates for both interventions were low (<5%). TARGET was more effective than SGT in increasing sense of forgiveness toward others who have caused harm in the past, and was associated with improvements in emotion regulation and self-integrity, and reductions in reactive interpersonal and sexual behavior, that were not reported by women in SGT groups. TARGET groups also have been provided on a clinical pilot basis to more than 300 other incarcerated women.

    Ford, J. D., Chang, R., Levine, J., & Zhang, W. (2013).

    Randomized clinical trial comparing affect regulation and supportive group therapies for victimization-related PTSD with incarcerated women. Behavior Therapy, 44,