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Psychology and Mental Health

Chicago, USA
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A comparison of trauma-focused and present-focused group therapy for survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Author(s): Classen CC, Cavanough CE, Kaupp JW, Aggarwal R, Palesh OG, Cheryl K, Helena KC, David S

Abstract

This randomized controlled trial compared trauma-focused group psychotherapy (TFGT) with present-focused group psychotherapy (PFGT) and a waitlist condition for 166 survivors of childhood sexual abuse who were at risk for HIV infection. Primary outcomes included risk for HIV infection (based on sexual revictimization, drug and alcohol use, and risky sex) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. It was hypothesized that TFGT would be superior to the PFGT and waitlist conditions and that receiving either treatment (combining both TFGT and PFGT) would be superior to no treatment (waitlist condition). Intention-to-treat analyses for HIV risk found that all conditions reduced risk; however, there was no effect for condition on HIV risk. Intention-to-treat analyses for PTSD symptoms found a reduction for all conditions. There was no advantage for either TFGT or PFGT in reducing PTSD symptoms; however, there was an effect for treatment compared with the waitlist condition. On secondary outcomes, there was a greater reduction in anger for TFGT compared with PFGT, and when comparing treatment with the waitlist condition, there was a greater reduction in hyperarousal, reexperiencing, anger, and impaired self-reference for the treatment condition. Adequate dose analyses generally confirmed the intention-to-treat findings and additionally found that treatment led to reductions in depression, dissociation, and sexual concerns.

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