A randomised controlled pilot study: the effectiveness of narrative exposure therapy with adult survivors of the Sichuan earthquake

Zang, Yinyin and Hunt, Nigel and Cox, Tom (2013) A randomised controlled pilot study: the effectiveness of narrative exposure therapy with adult survivors of the Sichuan earthquake. BMC Psychiatry, 13 . 41/1-41/11. ISSN 1471-244X

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Abstract

Background: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common psychological reaction after large-scale natural

disasters. Given the number of people involved and shortage of resources in any major disaster, brief, pragmatic

and easily trainable interventions are needed. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of Narrative Exposure

Therapy (NET) as a short-term treatment for PTSD using Chinese earthquake survivors.

Methods: A randomized waiting-list control pilot study was conducted between December 2009 and March 2010,

at the site of the Sichuan earthquake in Beichuan County, China. Adult participants with newly diagnosed Post

Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were randomly allocated to Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) or a Waiting-List

(WL) condition. The latter received NET treatment after a two-week waiting period. To compare the effectiveness of

NET in traumatised earthquake survivors, both groups were assessed on PTSD symptoms, general mental health,

anxiety and depression, social support, coping style and posttraumatic change before and after treatment and two

months post treatment.

Results: Adult participants (n=22) were randomly allocated to receive NET (n=11) or WL (n=11). Twenty two

participants (11 in NET group, 11 in WL) were included in the analysis of primary outcomes. Compared with WL,

NET showed significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression, general mental stress and increased

posttraumatic growth. The WL group later showed similar improvements after treatment. These changes remained

stable for a two-month follow-up. Measures of social support and coping showed no stable effects.

Conclusions: NET is effective in treating post-earthquake traumatic symptoms in adult Chinese earthquake

survivors. The findings help advance current knowledge in the management of PTSD after natural disasters and

inform future research. Larger sample sizes are needed to extend the present findings.

Trial registration: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR-TRC-12002473

Keywords: Earthquake, Exposure, Disaster, Narrative, PTSD, Therapy

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copy of License must accompany any deposit
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Depositing User: de Sousa, Mrs Shona
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2014 07:16
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 20:17
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/2983

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