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Emotional or educational debriefing after psychological trauma: Randomised controlled trial

  • Marit Sijbrandij (a1), Miranda Olff (a1), Johannes B. Reitsma (a2), Ingrid V. E. Carlier (a3) and Berthold P. R. Gersons (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Recent studies show that individual single-session psychological debriefing does not prevent and can even aggravate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Aims

We studied the effect of emotional ventilation debriefing and educational debriefing v. no debriefing on symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Method

We randomised 236 adult survivors of a recent traumatic event to either emotional ventilation debriefing, educational debriefing or no debriefing (control) and followed up at 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 6 months.

Results

Psychiatric symptoms decreased in all three groups over time, without significant differences between the groups in symptoms of PTSD (P=0.33). Participants in the emotional debriefing group with high baseline hyperarousal score had significantly more PTSD symptoms at 6 weeks than control participants (P=0.005).

Conclusions

Our study did not provide evidence for the usefulness of individual psychological debriefing in reducing symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression after psychological trauma.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Marit Sijbrandij, Academic Medical Centre, Department of Psychiatry, Tafelbergweg 25, 1105 BC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel.: +31 20 5668783; fax: +31 20 6919019; email: e.m.sijbrandij@amc.uva.nl
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Preliminary results were presented to the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies at their 18th and 21st annual conferences.

Footnotes
References
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Emotional or educational debriefing after psychological trauma: Randomised controlled trial

  • Marit Sijbrandij (a1), Miranda Olff (a1), Johannes B. Reitsma (a2), Ingrid V. E. Carlier (a3) and Berthold P. R. Gersons (a4)...
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