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Efficacy of Group Treatment for Survivors of Childhood Abuse

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 23 Issue: 1 Dated: January 1999 Pages: 31-44
E Westbury; L M Tutty
Date Published
14 pages
To assess the effectiveness of a new model of group treatment for sexual abuse survivors in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, over individual therapy alone, a quasiexperimental design was employed in which 22 women were assigned to group treatment and 10 women were assigned to a waiting list comparison group.
All the women completed standardized measures on depression, self-esteem, and trauma symptomatology at pretest and after completing the 10 to 12 week group, and all were in concurrent individual therapy. On average, both groups of women decreased depression and trauma symptoms and increased self-esteem. However, clients in the treatment group improved their depression and anxiety to a statistically significant greater degree than clients in the waiting list comparison group. Improvement approaching statistical significance was found in self-esteem levels for treatment as compared to waiting list groups. The group intervention was more effective than individual treatment alone on depression and anxiety. The inclusion of the waiting list group was critical in interpreting the improvement noted by all women in treatment. Areas of further research to compare different group treatment approaches are suggested. 60 references and 2 tables