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A randomized controlled trial examining the impact of individual trauma‐focused therapy for individuals receiving group treatment for depression

Dominguez, S., Drummond, P.ORCID: 0000-0002-3711-8737, Gouldthorp, B., Janson, D. and Lee, C.W. (2020) A randomized controlled trial examining the impact of individual trauma‐focused therapy for individuals receiving group treatment for depression. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 94 (1). pp. 81-100.

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Adverse life events are associated with increased likelihood of depression and poorer prognosis. Trauma‐focused treatments (TFT) appear to be effective in decreasing comorbid depressive symptoms. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a TFT on the memories of aversive events for individuals with a primary diagnosis of depression.

A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 49 participants recruited from a 10‐day outpatient group programme. All participants showed symptoms of depression with a subgroup (80%) meeting the DSM‐5 criteria for a major depressive episode. Participants received treatment as usual (TAU); three additional individual trauma‐focused sessions; or three additional individual assertiveness training sessions. Participants were assessed with regards to depression diagnosis and related symptoms.

For participants with a major depressive episode, the addition of trauma‐focused sessions significantly increased the likelihood of remission when compared to TAU, or additional assertiveness training. While no significant treatment difference was noted in depressive symptom change post‐treatment, six weeks after treatment those who received an adjunct treatment were more likely to maintain treatment gains than those who received TAU. Furthermore, at 12‐week follow‐up, participants who received a TFT reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms than those who received assertiveness training.

While differences in outcomes were minimal immediately post‐treatment, differences among treatment groups increased over time. Thus, as few as three additional TFT sessions may impact positively on symptom change for people completing a group programme for the treatment of depression.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2020 The British Psychological Society
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