Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle examined whether an early intervention targeting negative beliefs of female assault survivors could mediate the subsequent development of chronic PTSD.

Ninety recent female assault survivors were randomized to 3 four-week early intervention programs:  (1) brief cognitive behavioral therapy, (2) weekly assessment or (3) supportive counseling. Changes in negative beliefs were examined before and after the intervention.

Negative beliefs improved across all three conditions, with somewhat less benefit reported by the participants receiving supportive counseling. As expected, the more severe negative beliefs were associated with higher initial trauma reactions and these negative beliefs generally improved from preintervention to postintervention. Moreover, for the brief cognitive-behavioral intervention, changes in perceptions of self and one's safety mediated longer-term changes in trauma-related symptoms.

The present results highlight the potential importance of changes in negative beliefs in the long-term adjustment of recent assault survivors.

Citation: Zoellner LA, Feeny NC, Eftekhari A, Foa EB. Changes in negative beliefs following three brief programs for facilitating recovery after assault.  Depression and Anxiety. 2011 Jul;28 (7):pages 532-40. [email protected]