Rape treatment outcome research: Empirical findings and state of the literature


This article reviews empirical support for treatments targeting women sexually assaulted during adolescence or adulthood. 32 articles were located using data from 20 separate samples. Of the 20 samples, 12 targeted victims with chronic symptoms, 3 focused on the acute period post-assault, 2 included women with chronic and acute symptoms, and 3 were secondary prevention programs. The majority of studies focus on PTSD, depression, and/or anxiety as treatment targets. Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure have garnered the most support with this population. Stress Inoculation Training and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing also show some efficacy. Of the 4 studies that compared active treatments, few differences were found. Overall, cognitive behavioral interventions lead to better PTSD outcomes than supportive counseling does. However, even in the strongest treatments more than one-third of women retain a PTSD diagnosis at post-treatment or drop out of treatment. Discussion highlights the paucity of research in this area, methodological limitations of examined studies, generalizability of findings, and important directions for future research at various stages of trauma recovery.






Katrina A. Vickerman
Gayla Margolin

Original Work Citation

Vickerman, K. A., & Margolin, G. (2009, July). Rape treatment outcome research: Empirical findings and state of the literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 29(5), 431-448. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.04.004



“Rape treatment outcome research: Empirical findings and state of the literature,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 30, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19056.

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