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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Trauma-affected refugees treated with basic body awareness therapy or mixed physical activity as augmentation to treatment as usual: —A pragmatic randomised controlled trial

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Background
The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is estimated to be as high as 30% among refugees. The coexistence of prevalent chronic pain is believed to maintain symptoms of PTSD and add complexity to the condition. Despite this, little evidence exists on how to treat PTSD and comorbid conditions best in trauma-affected refugees.

Aim
The aim of the present study was to investigate if adding either BBAT or mixed physical activity to the treatment as usual (TAU) for trauma-affected refugees with PTSD would increase the treatment effect compared to TAU alone.

Method
Randomised controlled trial, 3-armed parallel group superiority study, conducted at Com- petence Centre for Transcultural Psychiatry, Denmark. Participants were adult trauma- affected refugees with PTSD. Allocation ratio was 1:1:1, stratified for PTSD severity and gender. An open-label design was applied due to the nature of the intervention. Partici- pants were randomised to receive either individual basic body awareness therapy (group B) or individual mixed physical activity (group M) one hour/week for 20 weeks plus TAU, or TAU only (group C). The primary outcome was PTSD severity measured by Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ). Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01955538.

Results
Of the 338 patients included (C/B/M = 110/114/114), 318 patients were eligible for intention- to-treat analysis (C/B/M = 104/105/109). On the primary outcome, intention-to-treat as well as per-protocol analyses showed small but significant improvement on scores from pre- to post-treatment in all three groups but with no significant difference in improvement between groups.

Conclusions
The findings do not provide evidence that either BBAT or mixed physical activity as add-on treatment bring significantly larger improvement on symptoms of PTSD compared to TAU alone for adult, trauma-affected refugees. There is a need for studies on potential subpopulations of trauma-affected refugees who could benefit from physical activity as a part of their treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS One
Volume15
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
ISSN1932-6203
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2020

ID: 59533588