Predictors of treatment response for EMDR and prolonged exposure


Recent developments in PTSD treatment outcome research: Although cognitive behavior therapy is the treatment of choice for PTSD, there is a need to develop more effective treatments and to determine factors that influence treatment response. This symposium presents four studies that address treatment outcome research. The initial paper provides an overview of treatment predictors from two trials of cognitive processing therapy. The second paper reviews the differential responses to treatment of survivors of terrorist attacks and motor vehicle accidents. The third paper reviews predictors of outcome following EMDR and Prolonged Exposure. The fourth paper overviews a series of studies that have used structural and functional fMRI to identify the neural factors that predict response to CBT and also the impact of CBT on neural functioning.

Predictors of treatment response for EMDR and prolonged exposure: Predictors for response to treatment in a controlled study aimed to evaluate the relative efficacy of Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) compared to a no-treatment wait-list control (WAIT) in the treatment of PTSD in adult female rape victims were examined. In this study, 74 participants with PTSD were randomly assigned to one of the three experimental conditions to achieve 20 completers per group. Independent Assessors blind to the treatment condition administered standard measures of PTSD and related symptoms. Improvement in PTSD, depression, dissociation, and state anxiety was significantly greater in both PE and EMDR group than the WAIT group. PE and EMDR did not differ significantly for change from baseline to either post-treatment or 6-month follow up measurement for any quantitative scale. EMDR subjects with 2 or more comorbid diagnoses, however, improved significantly less than all other active treatment subjects. At post-treatment and 6- months, 95% and 94% of PE subjects and 75% and 74% EMDR subjects no longer met DSM-IV PTSD criteria, respectively. At the 6-month follow-up assessment, 78% of those who received PE and 35% of those who received EMDR met criteria for good end state functioning (p=.017).






Barbara Rothbaum

Original Work Citation

Rothbaum, B. (2008, November). Predictors of treatment response for EMDR and prolonged exposure. Symposium conducted at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 24th Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL



“Predictors of treatment response for EMDR and prolonged exposure,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 26, 2020,

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