Social Support during trauma therapy, an experimental study
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Abstract Posttraumatic stress disorder is one of the most prevalent disorders for which psychological treatment is used worldwide. Even though numerous patients are helped with the existing treatment methods, a noteworthy part of the patient population does not seem to benefit from those treatment methods. Some evidence exists for the beneficial effect of social support during medical treatment. However, no research has been conducted concerning the results of social support during trauma treatment. With this experimental study, we aimed to study the role of social support while looking at shocking pictures. We used an experimental condition (social support) and a control condition (no social support). We assessed the experienced unpleasantness while looking at the picture. This was done immediately before and immediately after the intervention. We also assessed the experienced unpleasantness and vividness after recollection of the picture. This assessment was only made after the intervention. In both the social support condition and the control condition drops in unpleasantness occurred while looking at the picture. However, there was not a significant difference between the conditions. With regards to the memory of the picture, we found that participants in the social support group scored significant lower on unpleasantness after the recollection. No significant effect was found for experienced vividness after recollection. Lastly, possible explanations and suggestions for future research are given.