A Comparison of Treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: Memory Specificity Training (MeST) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Description: The effectiveness of memory specificity training (MeST) was compared with standard cognitive processing therapy (CPT) in treatment of individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder. Eighteen adults aged 18-36 were randomly assigned to the MeST intervention (n = 9) or to the active control group (n = 9) of CPT. Both treatments were administered in group format across 6 weeks. MeST consisted of 6 weekly sessions, while CPT consisted of 12 biweekly sessions. The trial was undertaken in the Psychology Clinic of the University of North Texas, with randomization to conditions accomplished via computer random number generator. The primary outcome measure was change in PTSD symptoms post-treatment from baseline. Sixteen individuals (13 women and 3 men; MeST n = 8 and CPT n = 8) completed treatment and their data was analyzed. MeST significantly decreased PTSD symptomology at post-treatment and these results were maintained at 3 months post-treatment. MeST was found to be as effective as the established CPT intervention at reducing PTSD symptomology. Both MeST and CPT significantly increased participants' ability to specify memories upon retrieval at post-treatment, with results maintained at follow-up. There were no significant effects of MeST or CPT in ability to increase overall controlled cognitive processing at post-treatment or follow-up. No individual in either group reported any adverse effects during treatment or at 3 months follow-up. MeST appears to hold promise as an efficacious treatment option for PTSD. MeST was as effective as CPT in reducing symptoms of PTSD, but required only half the number of treatment sessions to accomplish these gains. Replication of these findings in larger samples is encouraged.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Maxwell, Kendal Lynn