Functional Outcomes From Psychotherapy for People With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-Analysis

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People with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience a wide array of symptoms, often accompanied by significant functional and quality of life impairments. Evidence-based psychotherapies are effective for alleviating symptoms in this group, but functional outcomes following psychotherapy are understudied. This study aimed to synthesize existing work on functional outcomes of psychotherapy to conduct a meta-analytic investigation examining whether people with PTSD experience significant improvements in functioning and quality of life following a course of psychotherapy. A literature search was conducted for studies reporting results of randomized clinical trials of psychotherapies for people diagnosed with PTSD that included a functional or quality of life outcome measured at pre- and post-intervention. Both between-groups and within-groups analyses were conducted using a random effects model. Fifty-six independent samples were included. Results suggest that, on average, people with PTSD experience significant, moderate improvement in functional outcomes after a course of psychotherapy. Taken together, this meta-analysis represents a substantial advance in our understanding of functional outcomes of psychotherapy for people with PTSD. Findings suggest that psychotherapy is one vehicle through which functional outcomes may be improved for this group, though notably to a lesser degree than symptom improvement.

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Journal of Anxiety Disorders



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