Question: In adults with post-traumatic stress disorder, which group intervention is most effective in improving patient outcomes?


Plain language summary

Group therapies can be beneficial and effective in improving symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, more research comparing group therapies needs to be conducted to determine the most effective intervention across populations.

Clinical and research implications

Moderate quality evidence from four RCTs indicates that group therapies can be effective in treating PTSD. All four RCTs compared different types of group therapies and there was some evidence that mindfulness-based stress reduction and group cognitive processing therapy were more effective than group present-centred therapy for improving PTSD severity and depression. Group psychotherapy education significantly improved forgiveness compared to supportive group therapy, but had no effect on PTSD and psychiatric symptoms. However all the research was conducted in the USA in specific populations (women in prison, war veterans or active soldiers) and might not be generalisable to other settings.

More well-designed trials of psychological therapies in comparison with each other, either alone or in combination are required. Further research into group therapy in incarcerated populations and military personnel is also needed.

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