Keywords: PTSD Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Psychotherapy Process | Randomized Controlled Trial
Presentation Type: Symposium
Several cognitive behavioral therapeutic approaches have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms (Foa, Keane, Friedman, & Cohen, 2008). The bulk of PTSD treatment research has relied on pre-post designs, which are limited in their ability to investigate the therapeutic process over time. PTSD symptom clusters have been empirically demonstrated to be correlated but distinct (King et al., 1998), suggesting PTSD is a heterogeneous disorder. As such, examination of how PTSD symptom clusters impact one another over the course of exposure-based treatment may provide direction regarding how treatment works. The present study investigated the relations between PTSD symptom clusters using symptom assessment at pre-treatment, mid-treatment, and post-treatment using cross-lagged panel design over the course of Virtual Reality Exposure (VRE) treatment. Two hypothesized pathways will be investigated, one in which re-experiencing symptoms influence the other PTSD symptom clusters over the course of VRE treatment, and the other in which avoidance symptoms influence the other PTSD symptom clusters over the course of VRE treatment. Participants were 156 Iraq and/or Afghanistan veterans who met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD due to military trauma. Using structural equation modeling, the model that included crosses from re-experiencing to all other clusters best fit the data. This final model demonstrated good fit (χ2(33) = 36.15, p = .32; RMSEA = .025, 90% CI: .00, .065, CFI = .996), and results suggested that re-experiencing at pre-treatment demonstrated a significant effect on numbing, avoidance, hyperarousal at mid-treatment, and re-experiencing symptoms at mid-treatment demonstrate a significant effect on each of the three symptom clusters at post-treatment. These findings suggest that re-experiencing symptoms are indeed a key aspect of the therapeutic process within exposure therapy for PTSD. Additional research examining the impact of re-experiencing-focused intervention strategies on treatment outcomes is warranted.
Emory University School of Medicine
Saturday, November 18
1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.