Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Rape-Related Symptoms in Adolescents: Short- and Long-Term Outcome after Cognitive Behavior Group Therapy

Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Rape-Related Symptoms in Adolescents: Short- and Long-Term Outcome after Cognitive Behavior Group Therapy

Article excerpt

BASIC RESEARCH ARTICLE

Rape-related symptoms in adolescents: short- and long-term outcome after cognitive behavior group therapy

Iva Bicanic1*, Carlijn de Roos2, Floryt van Wesel3, Gerben Sinnema1 and Elise van de Putte4

1National Psychotrauma Center for Children and Youth, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 2Psychotrauma Center for Children and Youth, GGZ Rivierduinen Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands; 3Department of Methodology and Statistics, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 4Department of Pediatrics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract

Background : Efficacy studies on treatment in adolescent victims of single rape are lacking, even though sexual victimization is most likely to occur during adolescence and despite the fact that adolescents are at risk to develop subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder.

Aim : The aim of this prospective observational study was to evaluate the short- and long-term outcomes of a nine-session cognitive behavior group therapy (STEPS), including a parallel six-session parents' group on rape-related symptomatology in female adolescents (13-18 years). STEPS includes psychoeducation, exposure in sensu as well as in vivo , cognitive restructuring, and relapse prevention.

Methods : Fifty-five female adolescents with mental health problems due to single rape, but without prior sexual trauma, received STEPS while their parents participated in a support group. Subjects were assessed on posttraumatic stress (PTS) and comorbid symptoms using self-report questionnaires prior to and directly after treatment, and at 6 and 12 months follow-up.

Results : Repeated measures analysis showed a significant and large decrease in symptoms of PTS, anxiety, depression, anger, dissociation, sexual concerns, and behavior problems directly after treatment, which maintained at 12 months follow-up. Time since trauma did not influence the results. Dropout during STEPS was 1.8%.

Conclusions : The results potentially suggest that the positive treatment outcomes at short- and long-term may be caused by STEPS. The encouraging findings need confirmation in future controlled studies on the effectiveness of STEPS because it may be possible that the treatment works especially well for more chronic symptoms, while the less chronic part of the sample showed considerable improvement on its own.

Keywords: Adolescents; cognitive behavior therapy; group therapy; PTS symptoms; rape; sexual assault

Responsible Editor: Rita Rosner, KU Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Germany.

*Correspondence to: Iva Bicanic, National Psychotrauma Center for Children and Youth, University Medical Center Utrecht, P.O. Box 85090, NL-3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands, Email: I.A.E.Bicanic@umcutrecht.nl

For the abstract or full text in other languages, please see Supplementary files under Article Tools online

Received: 3 October 2013; Revised: 17 April 2014; Accepted: 26 April 2014; Published: 3 June 2014

European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2014. © 2014 Iva Bicanic et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Citation: European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2014, 5 : 22969 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v5.22969

The experience of rape is associated with the development of serious mental health disorders, most commonly DSM-IV -defined acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Hansen, Armour, & Elklit, 2012; Kessler, Sonnega, Bromet, Hughes, & Nelson, 1995; Rothbaum, Foa, Riggs, Murdock, & Walsh, 1992). …

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