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Who Recovers Faster from Assault Trauma – Men or Women?

05 Jan

Researchers from the University of Missouri in St. Louis evaluated the treatment response trajectory for 69 male and female interpersonal assault survivors, using a modified Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) protocol that allowed survivors to receive up to 18 sessions of CPT, with treatment end determined by therapy progress.

Few sex differences were observed in trauma history, baseline PTS and depressive severity, Axis I co-morbidity, anger, guilt or degree of dissociation.
Women did report more sexual assault in adulthood and elevated baseline guilt, whereas men reported more baseline anger directed inward.

Attrition and total number of sessions did not differ by sex.  Over the course of treatment and follow-up, men and women demonstrated similar rates of change in their PTS and depressive symptoms.

However, medium effect sizes on both of these primary outcomes at the 3-month mark for follow-up assessment favored women.  Several differences in the slope of change emerged on secondary outcomes, such as women showing more rapid gains on global guilt, guilt cognitions, anger/irritability, and dissociation.
Results suggest that male survivors may warrant additional attention to address these important clinical aspects.

Citation:  Galovski TE, Blain LM, Chappuis C, Fletcher T. Sex differences in recovery from PTSD in male and female interpersonal assault survivors. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2013 Jun;51 (6): pages 247-55. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. doi: 10.1016/ j.brat.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award