It is estimated that nearly one in four women will experience sexual trauma during their military service. This experience can have profound and lasting consequences, with one of the most commonly reported being posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To help these women veterans, researchers have identified and studied effective treatments, with one of the most effectual being a psychotherapy called Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Although multiple studies have found CPT to be first-line treatment for PTSD, less is known about the effectiveness of this treatment in females who identify as a racial-ethnic minority. Previous research has focused primarily on women who identify as White, with far fewer studies recruiting large samples of women who identify as Black. Further, some research exists suggesting that Black women may be less likely to complete and fully benefit from psychotherapy. The purpose of the current paper was to understand if CPT could be an effective treatment for both Black and White female survivors of MST with PTSD. Our findings support that not only did Black female veterans benefit similarly to White female veterans from CPT, they also attended a similar number of sessions and had similar rates of treatment completion. These findings support the mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs in its attempts to provide optimal care for all veterans.
Read the full paper: Holliday, R. P., Holder, N. D., Williamson, M. L., & Surís, A. (2017). Therapeutic response to Cognitive Processing Therapy in White and Black female veterans with military sexual trauma-related PTSD. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 1-14. doi:10.1080/16506073.2017.1312511
Photo by: Carl Montgomery