Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: Evaluating its effectiveness in reducing trauma symptoms in adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse
The purpose of the study was to evaluate, through the use of a randomized experimental design, the effectiveness of EMDR in reducing trauma symptoms in adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. No EMDR research to date has been exclusively comprised of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, a historically difficult treatment population. Additionally, while numerous clinical accounts of treatment with sexual abuse survivors have been published, controlled treatment research has rarely been done. Of the studies found that examine treatment efficacy exclusively with this population, none involved the use of random assignment.A sample of 60 adult female sexual abuse survivors were selected and randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) individual EMDR treatment; (2) individual eclectic treatment; or (3) delayed treatment control group. The participating survivors' trauma symptoms were measured in pretests and posttests on standardized as well as subjective instruments that measured anxiety, posttraumatic stress, depression, negative beliefs about the sexual abuse, emotional distress and desired positive self beliefs. The survivors in the study assigned to the experimental or comparison treatment groups received six 90 minute individual sessions of either EMDR or eclectic therapy. The delayed treatment control group subjects were pretested, asked to delay treatment for six weeks, and after being post tested were assigned a therapist with which to work. Data analysis consisted primarily of multivariate and univariate analysis of variance. The posttest results indicated that EMDR was very effective in reducing the targeted trauma symptoms compared to the control group. Eclectic therapy at posttest was also found to be very effective, resulting in a lack of statistically significant differences between the experimental and comparison treatments. However, analysis conducted at the three month follow-up revealed that EMDR was significantly more effective than eclectic therapy at maintaining therapeutic gains. The results of this study suggest that while both EMDR and eclectic therapy, when applied as brief psychotherapy models of treatment for survivors, can produce significant alleviation of trauma symptoms, EMDR may provide more enduring resolution. These findings have important implications for both survivors and the service providers available to them.
Original Work Citation
Edmond, T. E. (1998, August). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: Evaluating its effectiveness in reducing trauma symptoms in adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 59(2-A), 0617
“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: Evaluating its effectiveness in reducing trauma symptoms in adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed April 7, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17554.