Predictors and moderators of treatment outcomes in phase-based treatment and trauma-focused treatments in patients with childhood abuse-related post-traumatic stress disorder

Noortje I van Vliet*, Rafaele J C Huntjens, Maarten K van Dijk, Mark Huisman, Nathan Bachrach, Marie-Louise Meewisse, Sietske van Haren, Ad de Jongh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Knowledge of treatment predictors and moderators is important for improving the effectiveness of treatment for PTSD due to childhood abuse. Objective: The first aim of this study was to test the potential predictive value of variables commonly associated with PTSD resulting from a history of repeated childhood abuse, in relation to treatment outcomes. The second aim was to examine if complex PTSD symptoms act as potential moderators between treatment conditions and outcomes. Method: Data were obtained from a randomized controlled trial comparing a phase-based treatment (Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation [STAIR] followed by Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing [EMDR] therapy; n  = 57) with a direct trauma-focused treatment (EMDR therapy only; n  = 64) in people with PTSD due to childhood abuse. The possible predictive effects of the presence of borderline personality disorder, dissociative symptoms, and suicidal and self-injurious behaviours were examined. In addition, it was determined whether symptoms of emotion regulation difficulties, self-esteem, and interpersonal problems moderated the relation between the treatment condition and PTSD post-treatment, corrected for pre-treatment PTSD severity. Results: Pre-treatment PTSD severity proved to be a significant predictor of less profitable PTSD treatment outcomes. The same was true for the severity of dissociative symptoms, but only post-treatment, and not when corrected for false positives. Complex PTSD symptoms did not moderate the relationship between the treatment conditions and PTSD treatment outcomes. Conclusions: The current findings suggest that regardless of the common comorbid symptoms studied, immediate trauma-focused treatment is a safe and effective option for individuals with childhood-related PTSD. However, individuals experiencing severe symptoms of PTSD may benefit from additional treatment sessions or the addition of other evidence-based PTSD treatment approaches. The predictive influence of dissociative sequelae needs further research.The study design was registered in The Dutch trial register (https://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC = 5991) NTR5991 and was approved by the medical ethics committee of Twente NL 56641.044.16 CCMO.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300589
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • childhood abuse
  • moderators
  • predictors
  • PTSD
  • treatment

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