In women victims of sexual assault, how effective are psychological/specialist interventions, compared to no specialist intervention, in improving patient outcomes?
There is limited high quality evidence that looks into
psychological interventions for women victims of sexual assault in
adulthood. More research is needed to adequately assess the
effectiveness of psychological/specialist interventions in this
Clinical and research implications
There is limited, poor quality evidence that psychological
interventions, particularly group interventions (e.g. cognitive
processing therapy, assertion training, supportive psychotherapy,
image rehearsal therapy) may be effective in reducing symptoms of
post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, in women who have
experienced sexual assault. However, much of the evidence was
derived from adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse or
from mixed populations which included women who had experiences
rape in childhood or adulthood; this evidence therefore have
limited applicability to adult victims of sexual assault.
High quality randomised controlled trials of standardised
interventions are needed to adequately assess the effectiveness of
psychological interventions for women victims of sexual assault.
Studies focussing on women who have experienced sexual assault in
adulthood, rather than those who experienced sexual abuse in
childhood, are particularly lacking.
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