Effects of current treatments for trauma survivors with posttraumatic stress disorder on reducing a negative self-concept : a systematic review and meta-analysis

Background: A negative self-concept is characterised by dysfunctional cognitions about the self and has been suggested to be a key factor involved in the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, the current definitions of PTSD according to DSM-5 and the new ICD-11 diagnosis of Complex PTSD (CPTSD) include aspects of negative self-concept in their diagnostic criteria.


Objective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to synthesise the currently available evidence on the effects of psychological interventions for PTSD on negative self-concept.


Methods: PubMed, PsychINFO, PSYNDEX, PTSDpubs and Cochrane Library were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological treatments for PTSD symptoms in adults, published up to February 2021. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted, with risk of bias assessed by the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Tool.


Results: A total of 25 RCTs (N = 2585) were included in the meta-analysis. Results showed that psychological interventions significantly improve a negative self-concept with a moderate to large controlled effect size (k = 30, g = 0.67, 95% CI [0.31, 1.02], p < .001) at post-treatment. Heterogeneity between studies was large but could not be accounted for by moderators included in the current analysis, i.e. different types of interventions (e.g. with vs. without a cognitive restructuring component, trauma-focused vs. not).


Conclusions: Current treatments for PTSD are effective in reducing a negative self-concept. However, more research is needed to identify moderators of this effect and identify interventions that are most effective for reducing negative self-concept.



  • Posttraumatic stress disorder is related to a negative self-concept.
  • In this meta-analysis, we found that existing treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder reduce a negative self-concept.
  • Future research is needed to identify interventions that are most effective in reducing a negative self-concept.
Liselotte Banz, Mina Stefanovic, Maria von Boeselager, Ingo Schäfer, Annett Lotzin, Birgit Kleim & Thomas Ehring | 2022
In: European Journal of Psychotraumatology ; ISSN: 2000-8066 | 13 | 2 | 2122528
Interventions, Mental health, Meta Analysis, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Self Concept, Survivors, Systematic Review, Treatment