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The effect of imaginal exposure length on outcome of treatment for PTSD*

Minnen, Agnes Van ; Foa, Edna B.

Journal of Traumatic Stress, August 2006, Vol.19(4), pp.427-438 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    The effect of imaginal exposure length on outcome of treatment for PTSD*
  • Author/Creator: Minnen, Agnes Van ; Foa, Edna B.
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Psychology
  • Is Part Of: Journal of Traumatic Stress, August 2006, Vol.19(4), pp.427-438
  • Description: The effects of prolonged imaginal exposure sessions (60 minutes; = 60) were compared with those of shorter exposure sessions (30 minutes, = 32) for patients with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Consistent with the authors' hypothesis, patients who received 30‐minute imaginal exposure sessions showed less within‐session habituation than patients who received 60‐minute exposure sessions. However, no differences between patients who received 60‐minute and 30‐minute exposure sessions emerged on improvement in PTSD‐symptoms, state anxiety, depression, and end‐state functioning, both at posttreatment and at 1‐month follow‐up. No group differences were found with regard to between‐sessions habituation, number of sessions, and dropout rate. Results suggest that 30‐minute imaginal exposure sessions are as effective as 60‐minute exposure sessions and that within‐session habituation may not be a necessary condition for successful treatment of PTSD. Future research is needed to replicate these findings and extend them to other clinical populations.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0894-9867 ; E-ISSN: 1573-6598 ; DOI: 10.1002/jts.20146