Adult Women with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Childhood Abuse, and Suicidality are Empowered by Participating in Research

Saturday, March 24, 2018
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Many researchers and clinicians are wary of including participants who are chronically—and at times acutely—suicidal in their trauma studies. Our goal was to examine the research-experience of adult women with PTSD, histories of childhood abuse, and suicidality receiving inpatient- or residential-level care (N=42). Following two trauma studies that included interviews, self-reports, neuroimaging, psychophysiology, neuropsychology, and genetics, the participants completed a self-report about their experience in the studies. Individuals reported that participating was empowering, helpful for their treatment, and gave them a voice for their experiences. Severity of childhood trauma history, current suicidality, PTSD, and dissociative symptoms were not associated with perceived difficulty completing study procedures (p’s>.05). Dissociative symptom severity was positively correlated with feeling that participation was helpful for treatment and gave them a voice (p’sR2=.22, F(1,26)=7.45, p=.011, b=.47, t(27)=2.73, p= .011) and the extent they felt it may help in treatment (R2=.14, F(1,26)=4.24, p=.050, b=.37, t(27)=2.06, p=.050). These results demonstrate that individuals with severe trauma histories and symptoms are empowered by their participation and should be thoughtfully included in future research.

Jonathan Wolff

Clinical Research Coordinator
McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Belmont, Massachusetts

B.S. in Clinical Psychology with research interests in trauma-related disorders, psychiatric assessment, chronic shame, and suicidality. Background in clinical research, and clinical care on a psychiatric inpatient trauma unit.