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Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181568612
Brief Report

A Randomized Controlled Clinical Treatment Trial for World Trade Center Attack-Related PTSD in Disaster Workers

Difede, JoAnn PhD*; Malta, Loretta S. PhD*; Best, Suzanne PhD†‡; Henn-Haase, Clare PsyD†‡; Metzler, Thomas MA†‡; Bryant, Richard PhD§; Marmar, Charles MD†‡

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Abstract

This article describes a controlled clinical trial of cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for disaster workers. Despite high rates of PTSD in disaster workers worldwide, there have been no randomized trials of PTSD treatment. Participants were randomly assigned to a 12-week cognitive-behavioral exposure treatment (CBT, N = 15) or a treatment-as-usual (N = 16) condition. Eight CBT and 14 treatment-as-usual participants completed treatment. An ANOVA examining changes in Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale scores found significant main effects of Time, Group, and a Time × Group interaction (p's < 0.010) with a significantly greater decline in symptom scores in the CBT group. Between-group effect sizes were large. Dropout was associated with lower income, less education, and higher alcohol consumption. This project demonstrates the feasibility of recruitment in the aftermath of a catastrophic event, the relevance of a brief focused intervention comprised of CBT and exposure, and the need to eliminate barriers to treatment retention associated with income and education.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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