Stabilizing group treatment for childhood-abuse related PTSD : a randomized controlled trial

Background: Patients with PTSD related to childhood-abuse often experience additional problems such as emotional dysregulation and interpersonal difficulties. Psychotherapy focused on stabilization of symptoms, emotion-regulation, and skills training has been suggested as a treatment for this patient population, either as preparation for further treatment or as a stand-alone intervention.


Objective: The present study tests the efficacy of treatment using a group-protocol for stabilizing treatment delivered adjunct with conventional individual therapy.


Methods: In a delayed-treatment design with switching replication, a clinically representative sample of 89 patients with PTSD and histories of childhood abuse were randomly assigned to either 20-week stabilizing group treatment or a corresponding waiting-period, both adjunct with conventional individual therapy. After the waiting-period, patients in the control condition were offered group treatment. The primary outcome was psychosocial functioning, measured with interview – assessed Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF), while secondary outcome was self-reported PTSD symptoms. These were measured before treatment, after treatment and at 6 months follow up. The trial was preregistered at Clinical Trials (NCT02450617).


Results: We found large within-group effect sizes in both conditions on GAF and moderate effects on PTSD symptoms. Linear mixed-models did not indicate significant differences in treatment trajectories between conditions.


Conclusion: Stabilizing group treatment focused on emotional-regulation and skills-training does not improve outcomes beyond individual-treatment alone, and should not be recommended as first-line treatment for this patient-group



  • Stabilizing group treatment focused on emotionalregulation and skills-training does not improve outcomes beyond individual-treatment alone for patients with PTSD after childhood abuse.
Harald Bækkelund , Ida Karlsrud , Asle Hoffart & Espen Ajo Arnevik | 2021
In: European Journal of Psychotraumatology ; ISSN: 000-8066 | 12 | 1 | januari | 1859079
Open Access
Child Abuse, Group Psychotherapy, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Randomized Clinical Trial