The relationship between emotion regulation difficulties and PTSD outcomes during group cognitive processing therapy for PTSD.
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Emotion regulation difficulties (difficulty regulating the experience, occurrence, and expression of emotions) are associated with the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms across trauma types (e.g., childhood abuse, sexual assault, combat trauma). Despite emerging research suggesting that evidence-based treatments for PTSD, including cognitive processing therapy (CPT), are effective in improving emotion regulation difficulties, some have argued that these therapies may not be as safe or acceptable to patients compared to non-trauma focused treatments. Accordingly, the current study sought to determine the impact of pre-treatment emotion regulation difficulties on PTSD treatment outcomes and dropout, as well as whether emotion regulation difficulties improve over the course of treatment with group CPT among individuals with PTSD. One hundred and one individuals with PTSD participated in group CPT. Repeated measures t-tests found significant pre- to post-treatment improvements for emotion regulation difficulties (d = .79). Further, hierarchical linear modeling and logistic regression analyses revealed that pre-treatment emotion regulation difficulties were neither significantly associated with changes in PTSD symptoms over the course of treatment (d = -.07) nor with treatment dropout (OR = 1.00). These findings suggest that CPT delivered in a group setting to individuals with PTSD can lead to significant improvement in emotion regulation and that emotion regulation difficulties do not negatively impact treatment outcome or patient retention. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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