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Efficacy of Psychological Interventions With Recent Rape Victims (From Rape and Sexual Assault III, P 75-103, 1991, Wolbert Burgess, ed. -- See NCJ-134540)

NCJ Number
B Anderson; E Frank
Date Published
29 pages
This study examined the efficacy of two treatment interventions with recent rape victims -- psychoeducational intervention and psychological support -- and then studied the efficacy of short-term therapy versus brief intervention therapy (cognitive behavior therapy versus systematic desensitization-treated groups).
Subjects were referred to the researchers by Allegheny County Center for Victims of Violent Crime or Pittsburgh Action Against Rape between September 1978 and October 1988. Of the 532 referrals, 51.3 percent agreed to participate in the study. During the first 6 years of the project, women were randomly assigned to either cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or systematic desensitization (SD). In the latter part of the research program, women were randomly assigned to either psychoeducation intervention (PEI) or psychological support (PS) modalities. PEI is intended to help the victim understand why the rape myths exist and why operating from the basis of those myths will be nonadaptive for the rape victim. PS is considered a "placebo," since it does not involve intensive treatment. In interaction with the victim, the clinician provides optimism and hopefulness, reassurance and encouragement, the enhancement of expectations of positive outcomes, and ventilation and aberaction. Both PEI and PS were associated with comparable levels of symptom reduction (depression, fear, anxiety, and social adjustment). Also, both cognitive behavior therapy and systematic desensitization were associated with comparable levels of symptom reduction. These findings suggest that the minimal treatment of psychological support can be as effective as more intensive interventions in reducing traumatic symptoms for recent rape victims. Intensive treatment may be most effective with rape victims who display chronic trauma symptoms over time. 6 tables and 33 references