Potential therapy effectiveness, baseline symptom severity, and the association of post-event factors in homicidally bereaved adolescent PTSD patients
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Bereavement through homicide is a rare yet very stressful life event for adolescents. Following the incident, between 16% and 36% develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although a commonly given treatment following trauma, little research has been conducted on trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) in adolescents. The present study investigates as one of the first of its kind potential effects of TF-CBT in adolescents diagnosed with PTSD, specifically suffering from homicide. Further, it explores the association of bereavement time and waiting time for a therapy spot with baseline symptom severity and with symptom reduction following treatment. Self-reported data of 165 treatment-seeking adolescents were included in the analysis. Symptom severity was measured with the Children's Revised Impact of Event Scale. A paired t-test has been used to measure potential effectiveness of TF-CBT. Multiple regression models have been conducted to model the association of the post-event factors. Symptom severity following treatment was significantly lower compared to the onset of therapy (p < .001). The regression models account for 1.5% (p > .05) and 0.9% (p > .05) of variance of baseline symptom severity and symptom reduction following treatment, respectively. Limitations, strengths, and implications for future studies are being discussed.