A comparison of three treatments for traumas in a high crime neighborhood


Trauma occurs at a greater rate in low SES high crime areas and there is an urgent need for brief treatments as there are limited resources. Our study was conducted to test the efficacy of three brief (4 session) treatments: individually administered exposure based therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing -EMDR), group administered stress management with a trauma focus (SMT), and group administered coping modules from the Red Cross’ Psychological First Aid program (PFA). Our NIH funded study partnered with a community health center in a low SES, high crime neighborhood. Subjects who had experienced a traumatic event within the previous 6 months (n = 87) were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: EMDR, SMT, or PFA. They were assessed at baseline, post treatment, and at 3 and 6-month follow-ups. Outcome variables included PTSD symptoms (Davidson), depression (Beck Depression Inventory), and physical symptoms. Results indicated that EMDR worked best for reducing depression, PFA worked best at reducing PTSD, and SMT worked best for reducing physical symptoms. Implications of the findings suggest that brief interventions can be useful and that choice of intervention may be guided by the importance of a particular outcome.






J.Gail Ironson
Lindsay Bira
Rich Stuetzle
Blanche Freund
Jarrard Goodwin

Original Work Citation

Ironson, G., Bira, L., Stuetzle, R., Freund, B., & Goodwin, J. (2015, November). A comparison of three treatments for traumas in a high crime neighborhood.  Presentation at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 30th Annual Meeting, Miami, FL



“A comparison of three treatments for traumas in a high crime neighborhood,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 11, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/23516.

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