Treatment choice for PTSD

Lori A. Zoellner, Norah C. Feeny, Bryan Cochran, Larry Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The impetus for seeking help for assault-related difficulties often rests upon the victims themselves. Yet, we know very little about what factors influence a woman's decision to seek a particular kind of help after an assault. To learn more about these factors, data from 273 women with varying degrees of trauma history and subsequent PTSD symptoms were collected. All participants read a standard, "if this happened to you, what would you do" scenario describing a traumatic event and subsequent trauma-related psychiatric symptoms. Participants were given the same trauma scenario (i.e., sexual assault) and three treatment options to choose from: sertraline (SER), prolonged exposure (PE), or no treatment. Ratings of treatment credibility, personal reactions to treatment options, and treatment choice were examined. Women were more likely to choose PE than SER for the treatment of chronic PTSD. Perceived credibility of the treatment and personal reactions coincided with women's choices. By better understanding who would choose which treatments for PTSD and why, we will improve our ability to tailor how we approach discussing treatment options with these women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-886
Number of pages8
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • PTSD
  • Prolonged exposure
  • Sertraline
  • Treatment rationales


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