Choosing the right track : improving PTSD treatment outcomes for patients with childhood abuse-related posttraumatic stress disorder

Physical and sexual abuse during childhood can have long lasting consequences such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Prolonged Exposure (PE) is an established and effective guideline treatment for PTSD. Nevertheless, a considerable number of patients drop out from treatment or do not (completely) recover from PTSD during PE. It has been suggested that patients with PTSD resulting from childhood abuse are specifically at risk for suboptimal treatment outcomes.


We carried out a randomized controlled trial with 149 patients with childhood abuse-related PTSD comparing PE with two innovations: intensified PE (iPE) and skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation followed by PE (STAIR+PE). We found that all treatments were safe and resulted in large improvements in PTSD symptoms. iPE and STAIR+PE did not improve treatment outcomes of PE, although iPE led to faster symptom improvements. Not all patients benefitted from the allocated treatment, but we found no contra-indications for the treatments.


We found that a combination of patient characteristics was predictive of a larger effect size of PTSD symptom improvement in PE and iPE or STAIR+PE. We conclude that the three forms of exposure therapy were effective treatments for patients with childhood abuse-related PTSD.

Christiaan Maria Hoeboer | 2022
173 pagina's | Leiden : Leiden University
Child Abuse, Children, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Complex PTSD, Dissociative Symptoms, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Predictors, Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Randomized Clinical Trial, Sexual Behavior, Treatment