Title

Changes in Negative Cognitions and Symptoms During Prolonged Exposure, Supportive Counseling, and Group Therapy in Female Sexual Assault Survivors with PTSD

Date of Submission

2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Beverly White, PsyD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Hembree, PhD

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine whether pre- and post-treatment differences existed in PTSD-related negative cognitions and PTSD symptoms between female survivors of sexual assault with childhood sexual abuse trauma histories (complex) versus female survivors of sexual assault with no history of childhood sexual abuse (adult assault only). In addition, the study examined the effects of prolonged exposure (PE), supportive counseling (SC), and group therapy (TUGT) on PTSD-related negative cognitions and PTSD symptoms. Self-report measures of PTSD-related negative cognitions and PTSD symptoms were administered prior to treatment, throughout treatment, and after treatment. No significant differences in PTSD-related negative cognitions or PTSD symptoms were found at pre- or post -treatment between those with and those without complex trauma histories. With respect to treatment conditions, significant differences were found in PTSD-related negative cognitions and PTSD symptoms between those treated with PE and TUGT. In contrast, no significant differences were found in PTSD-related negative cognitions and PTSD symptoms between those treated with PE and those treated with SC. These results seem to contradict the belief that those with complex trauma histories report more trauma symptoms than those who do not have trauma that is characterized as complex. Additionally, results appear to dispel the need for different treatments to be developed for those with complex trauma histories owing to self-regulatory deficits associated with those who experienced complex trauma. Results also lend support to recent research indicating present-centered therapy (e.g., SC) is effective in the treatment of PTSD.

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