Shame, guilt, and posttraumatic stress disorder in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse at risk for human immunodeficiency virus: outcomes of a randomized clinical trial of group psychotherapy treatment.

Karni Ginzburg, Lisa D. Butler, Janine Giese-Davis, Courtenay E. Cavanaugh, Eric Neri, Cheryl Koopman, Catherine C. Classen, David Spiegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study evaluated the effectiveness of group psychotherapy in reducing levels of shame and guilt in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse at risk for HIV, and whether such reductions would mediate the effects of treatment on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. One hundred sixty-six women were randomized into 3 conditions: a trauma-focused group, a present-focused group, and a waitlist group. Women received 6 months of treatment and were assessed at pretreatment (T1), immediately posttreatment (T2), and 6 months posttreatment (T3). Both treatment conditions resulted in reduced shame and guilt. The treatment effect on PTSD symptoms was mediated by changes in shame, but it was not associated with changes in guilt. These findings suggest that, when treating childhood sexual abuse survivors' PTSD, it is important to address the negative self-appraisals, such as shame, that commonly accompany such symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-542
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of nervous and mental disease
Volume197
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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