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Multiple session early psychological interventions for prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder

Roberts NP, Kitchiner NJ, Kenardy J, Bisson JI
Published Online: 
14 April 2010

Traumatic events can have a significant impact on individuals', families' and communities' abilities to cope. In the past, single session interventions such as psychological debriefing were widely used with the aim of preventing continuing psychological difficulties. However, previous reviews have found that single session individual interventions have not been effective at preventing post -traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A range of other forms of intervention have been developed to try to prevent individuals exposed to trauma developing PTSD. This review evaluated the results of 11 studies that tested a diverse range of psychological interventions aimed at preventing PTSD. The results did not find any evidence to support the use of an intervention offered to everyone. There was some evidence that multiple session interventions may result in worse outcome than no intervention for some individuals. Further research is required to evaluate the most effective ways of providing psychological help in the early stages after a traumatic event.

This record should be cited as: 
Roberts NP, Kitchiner NJ, Kenardy J, Bisson JI. Multiple session early psychological interventions for the prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD006869. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006869.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
1 August 2008