Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Homeless Women

2014-07-23 21:35:46 | BioPortfolio


This study will determine the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy in treating post-traumatic stress disorder in homeless women.


Exposure to traumatic events may lead to mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by the presence of persistent frightening thoughts and memories of the traumatic event. Additionally, people with PTSD often feel emotionally numb, and they may experience sleep problems or be easily startled. Homeless people, in particular, are at risk for experiencing a variety of traumas. Homeless women tend to experience more traumatic events and develop PTSD at higher rates than housed women. Although effective treatments for PTSD are available, homeless women are unlikely to seek them out. There is a need for PTSD treatment approaches that are specifically designed for these women. This study will develop a cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment that will be adapted to best serve the needs of homeless women. The study will then determine the therapy's effectiveness in treating a group of homeless women with PTSD.

This study will consist of three phases. The first phase will be used to gather and analyze information about PTSD in homeless women and methods of treating the disorder in this population. Focus groups consisting of homeless women, shelter directors, case managers, and mental health service providers will be used to obtain the necessary information. Phase two of this study will consist of developing an adaptation of an existing PTSD treatment manual to make it relevant to the lives of homeless women. The third and final phase of this study will recruit 32 homeless women with symptoms of PTSD, and who did not participate in either of the first two phases of the study. Participants in this 4-week study will be randomly assigned to receive either the adapted cognitive behavioral therapy treatment or no treatment at all (assessment-only). The treatment group will attend twice weekly sessions for a total of 4 weeks. All participants will be evaluated immediately prior to the start of treatment and 1 week after treatment ends. Outcomes will include PTSD symptoms and depression symptoms.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Adapted cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)


Los Angeles County
United States




National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:35:46-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A class of traumatic stress disorders that is characterized by the significant dissociative states seen immediately after overwhelming trauma. By definition it cannot last longer than 1 month, if it persists, a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (STRESS DISORDERS, POST-TRAUMATIC) is more appropriate.

A class of traumatic stress disorders with symptoms that last more than one month. There are various forms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depending on the time of onset and the duration of these stress symptoms. In the acute form, the duration of the symptoms is between 1 to 3 months. In the chronic form, symptoms last more than 3 months. With delayed onset, symptoms develop more than 6 months after the traumatic event.

A direct form of psychotherapy based on the interpretation of situations (cognitive structure of experiences) that determine how an individual feels and behaves. It is based on the premise that cognition, the process of acquiring knowledge and forming beliefs, is a primary determinant of mood and behavior. The therapy uses behavioral and verbal techniques to identify and correct negative thinking that is at the root of the aberrant behavior.

Contextually focused form of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy that uses MINDFULNESS and behavioral activation to increase patients' psychological flexibility in areas such as ability to engage in values-based, positive behaviors while experiencing difficult thoughts, emotions, or sensations.

Anxiety disorders manifested by the development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically traumatic event that is outside the normal range of usual human experience. Symptoms include re-experiencing the traumatic event, increased arousal, and numbing of responsiveness to or reduced involvement with the external world. Traumatic stress disorders can be further classified by the time of onset and the duration of these symptoms.

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