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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Stress Management versus Cognitive Restructuring in Trauma-affected Refugees. A Follow-up study on a Pragmatic Randomised Trial

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  1. Suicidal behavior among psychiatric patients in Rwanda

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  2. ScoRe: assessing refugee health in a cultural context

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  3. Neurofeedback as a treatment for trauma-affected refugees

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There is a lack of research and consensus with respect to long-term effective treatments for trauma-affected refugees. The purpose of this follow-up study of a randomised clinical trial was to investigate the effectiveness of Stress Management (SM) versus Cognitive Restructuring (CR) in treating trauma-affected refugees, six and 18 months post-treatment, respectively.

From a total of 126 refugees with PTSD, the intention-to-treat sample in the original trial, 74 patients were present at the six-month follow-up and 34 patients at the 18-month follow-up. During the trial, the patients had been offered a total of 16 psychotherapy sessions and 10 sessions with a medical doctor.

The analyses at six and 18-month follow-up with mixed regression analyses showed that both SM and CR in general had a nonsignificant small impact in reducing PTSD symptoms at both follow-up points, with no significant differences between the two psychotherapeutic interventions. Statistically significant between-group treatment effects were, however, observed with the patients receiving SM having significantly reduced somatisation (measured by the Symptom Checklist), depression and anxiety symptoms (measured by the Hamilton Depression and Anxiety ratings) 18 months post-treatment compared to the CR group.

The findings suggest that the consolidation of coping strategies including relaxation, attention-diversion and behavioural activation in SM appears to be more beneficial than CR in reducing long-term somatisation, depression and anxiety symptoms for this population. This can be taken into accourt when planning psychoterapeutic treatment for refugees with PTSD.

    Research areas

  • Health Sciences - Transcultural Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

ID: 59620190