Trauma-focused guided self-help interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Andy P. Siddaway (Lead Author), Richard Meiser-Stedman, Verity Chester, Jack Finn, Cliodhna O Leary, David Peck, Camilla Loveridge

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Trauma-focused guided self-help (TF-GSH) is an important alternative to psychological therapy delivered by a therapist. This meta-analysis evaluates the efficacy of TF-GSH in reducing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and comorbid depressive and anxiety symptoms. A total of 17 trials were included that compared a TF-GSH intervention (N = 610) to various control comparators (N = 570). Control conditions included treatment as usual (k = 2), waiting list (k = 11), phone monitoring (k = 1), nontrauma writing (k = 1), general support (k = 1), and supportive counseling (k = 1). A moderate- to large-sized effect favouring TF-GSH was observed for PTSD (k = 17, g = −0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI]: −1.24, −0.39) and a moderate-sized effect was observed for depressive (k = 13, g = −0.73, 95% CI: −1.16, −0.31) and anxiety (k = 11, g = −0.72, 95% CI: −1.18, −0.27) symptoms, with considerable heterogeneity. Moderator analyses were all not statistically significant. Results indicate that TF-GSH is a promising treatment for PTSD and comorbid depressive and anxiety symptoms. We discuss the nature, extent, and quality of the literature to provide a point of departure for future research. TF-GSH (and unguided self-help) may not be appropriate for certain individuals at certain times. Exploring a broad range of treatment delivery modalities will move the field closer towards a model of evidence-based care in which the likely appropriate dose and type of intervention can be matched to individuals based on presenting problems and other variables.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Early online date27 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2022

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