The purpose of this experiment was to conduct a dismantling study of cognitive processing therapy in which the full protocol was compared with its constituent components--cognitive therapy only (CPT-C) and written accounts (WA)--for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and comorbid symptoms. The intent-to-treat (ITT) sample included 150 adult women with PTSD who were randomized into 1 of the 3 conditions. Each condition consisted of 2 hr of therapy per week for 6 weeks; blind assessments were conducted before treatment, 2 weeks following the last session, and 6 months following treatment. Measures of PTSD and depression were collected weekly to examine the course of recovery during treatment as well as before and after treatment. Secondary measures assessed anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, and dysfunctional cognitions. Independent ratings of adherence and competence were also conducted. Analyses with the ITT sample and with study completers indicate that patients in all 3 treatments improved substantially on PTSD and depression, the primary measures, and improved on other indices of adjustment. However, there were significant group differences in symptom reduction during the course of treatment whereby the CPT-C condition reported greater improvement in PTSD than the WA condition.
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