How to help psychologically survivors of wars: A study on Rwanda orphans

A group of German investigators performed a controlled study on psychological help for Rwanda orphans of war.

Twenty-six orphans (originally 27) who presented with posttraumatic stress disorder () at first assessment continued to meet a PTSD DSM-IV diagnosis 6 months after their initial assessment. They were offered participation in a controlled treatment trial. A group adaptation of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT, n = 14) was compared to individual narrative exposure therapy (NET, n = 12).

The last NET session involved guided mourning. Each treatment program consisted of 4 weekly sessions. Main outcome measures were diagnostic status and symptoms of PTSD and depression assessed before treatment, at 3 months post-test and at 6 months follow-up using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview, and Hamilton Rating Scale.

At post-test, there were no significant group differences between NET and IPT on any of the examined outcome measures. At 6-month follow-up, only 25% of NET, but 71% of IPT participants still fulfilled PTSD criteria. There was a significant time × treatment interaction in the severity of PTSD [p < 0.05] and depression symptoms [p = 0.05]. At follow-up, NET participants were significantly more improved than IPT participants with respect to both the severity of symptoms of PTSD and depression.

Individual NET in combination with group-based mourning comprises an effective treatment for traumatized survivors who have to bear the loss of loved ones and have been suffering from symptoms of PTSD and depression.

More information: Schaal, S. ; Elbert, T. ; Neuner, F. Narrative Exposure Therapy versus Interpersonal Psychotherapy. Psychother Psychosom 2009;78:298-306

Source: Journal of and
 

 


Explore further

Exposure therapy may help prevent post-traumatic stress disorder

Citation: How to help psychologically survivors of wars: A study on Rwanda orphans (2009, September 23) retrieved 18 November 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2009-09-psychologically-survivors-wars-rwanda-orphans.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments