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February/March 2017 (vol. 13/5)

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Research Plus

PTSD therapy

Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is an evidence-based treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CPT helps individuals process traumatic incidents and recognise and challenge dysfunctional cognitions and thoughts. This randomised controlled trial compared individual versus group CPT for active-duty US soldiers (91% male, mean age 33 years) seeking treatment for PTSD after deployment in Afghanistan or Iraq. Participants were randomised to group CPT (133 participants in 15 groups) or individual CPT (n = 135), twice a week for 12 weeks. Group sessions lasted 90 minutes, individual ones lasted an hour. PTSD was assessed using the Posttraumatic Symptom Scale–Interview Version (PSSI) and the stressor-specific Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-S). Both groups had lower PTSD severity after the interventions, but those receiving individual CPT showed greater and more rapid improvement (p = 0.05). Effect sizes were rated as ‘very large’ for individual CPT and ‘medium’ for group CPT. The improvements remained significant at six months’ follow-up in both groups.

JAMA Psychiatry 2017; 74(1): 28–36 doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2729.

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Occupational Health at Work February/March 2017 (vol. 13/5) pp41