Katrina L. Boterhoven de Haan , 1 , Christopher W. Lee 1 , Eva Fassbinder 2 , Marisol J. Voncken 3 , Mariel Meewisse 4 , Saskia M. Van Es 5 , Simone Menninga 6 , Margriet Kousemaker 7 , Arnoud Arntz 8
4 May 2017
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that originates from childhood trauma experiences can develop into a chronic condition that has lasting effects on an individual’s functioning and quality of life. While there are evidence-based guidelines for treating adult onset PTSD, treatments for adults with childhood trauma-related PTSD (Ch-PTSD) are varied and subject to ongoing debate. This study will test the effectiveness of two trauma-focused treatments, imagery rescripting (ImRs) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) in participants with Ch-PTSD. Both have been found effective in treatment of adult PTSD or mixed onset PTSD and previous research indicates they are well-tolerated treatments. However, we know less about their effectiveness for treating Ch-PTSD or their underlying working mechanisms.
IREM is an international multicentre randomised controlled trial involving seven sites across Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. We aim to recruit 142 participants (minimum of n = 20 per site), who will be randomly assigned to treatment condition. Assessments will be conducted before treatment until 1-year follow-up. Assessments before and after the waitlist will assess change in time only. The primary outcome measure is change in PTSD symptom severity from pre-treatment to 8-weeks post-treatment. Secondary outcome measures include change in severity of depression, anger, trauma-related cognitions, guilt, shame, dissociation and quality of life. Underlying mechanisms of treatment will be assessed on changes in vividness, valence and encapsulated belief of a worst trauma memory. Additional sub-studies will include qualitative investigation of treatment experiences from the participant and therapists’ perspective, changes in memory and the impact of treatment fidelity on outcome measures.
The primary aims of this study are to compare the effectiveness of EMDR and ImRs in treating Ch-PTSD and to investigate the underlying working mechanisms of the two treatments. The large-scale international design will make a significant contribution to our understanding of how these treatments address the needs of individuals with Ch-PTSD and therefore, potentially improve their effectiveness.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12614000750684. Registered 16 July 2014.