Trauma cognitions are related to symptoms up to 10 years after cognitive behavioral treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined (a) relationships between trauma-related cognitions and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms from pretreatment through a long-term period after cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for PTSD and (b) whether these relationships were impacted by treatment type. METHOD: Participants were 171 women randomized into treatment for PTSD after rape. Measures of self-reported trauma-related cognitions and interviewer-assessed PTSD symptoms (i.e., Posttraumatic Maladaptive Beliefs Scale, Trauma-Related Guilt Inventory, and Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale) were obtained at pretreatment, posttreatment, and 3-month, 9-month, and 5-10 year follow-ups. Multilevel regression analyses were used to examine relationships between trauma-related cognitions and PTSD symptoms throughout the study period and whether these relationships differed as a function of treatment type (i.e., Cognitive Processing Therapy or Prolonged Exposure). RESULTS: Initial multilevel regression analyses that examined mean within-participant associations suggested that beliefs regarding Reliability and Trustworthiness of Others, Self-Worth and Judgment, Threat of Harm, and Guilt were related to PTSD symptoms throughout follow-up. Growth curve modeling suggested that patterns of belief change throughout follow-up were similar to those previously observed in PTSD symptoms over the same time period. Finally, multilevel mediation analyses that incorporated time further suggested that change in beliefs was related to change in symptoms throughout follow-up. With 1 minor exception, relationships between beliefs and symptoms were not moderated by treatment type. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that trauma-related cognitions are a potential mechanism for long-term maintenance of treatment gains after CBT for PTSD. Moreover, these cognitions may be a common, rather than specific, treatment maintenance mechanism. (PsycINFO Database Record
Scher, CD; Suvak, MK; Resick, PA
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