The efficacy of group treatment for survivors of childhood abuse

  • Westbury E
  • Tutty L
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Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a new model of group treatment for sexual abuse survivors over individual therapy alone. Method: In this quasi-experimental design, 32 women were in either group treatment (N = 22) or a wait-list comparison group (N = 10). They completed standardized measures on depression, self-esteem, and trauma symptomatology at pretest and after completing the 10 to 12 week group. All were in concurrent individual therapy. Results: On average, both groups of women decreased depression and trauma symptoms as well as increased self-esteem. However, the clients in the treatment group improved their depression and anxiety to a statistically significantly greater degree than clients in the wait-list comparison condition. Improvement approaching statistical significance was found in levels of self-esteem in the treatment as compared to the wait-list condition. Conclusion: The group intervention was significantly more effective than individual treatment alone on depression and anxiety. The inclusion of the wait-list comparison group was critical in interpreting the improvement noted by all of the women in treatment.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adult survivors
  • Evaluation
  • Group treatment
  • Sexual abuse

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  • Elizabeth Westbury

  • Leslie M. Tutty

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