A randomized controlled clinical treatment trial for World Trade Center attack-related PTSD in disaster workers
September 11 Terrorist Attacks
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
This article describes a controlled clinical trial of cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for disaster workers. Despite high rates of PTSD in disaster workers worldwide, there have been no randomized trials of PTSD treatment. Participants were randomly assigned to a 12-week cognitive-behavioral exposure treatment (CBT, N = 15) or a treatment-as-usual (N = 16) condition. Eight CBT and 14 treatment-as-usual participants completed treatment. An ANOVA examining changes in Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale scores found significant main effects of Time, Group, and a Time x Group interaction (p's < 0.010) with a significantly greater decline in symptom scores in the CBT group. Between-group effect sizes were large. Dropout was associated with lower income, less education, and higher alcohol consumption. This project demonstrates the feasibility of recruitment in the aftermath of a catastrophic event, the relevance of a brief focused intervention comprised of CBT and exposure, and the need to eliminate barriers to treatment retention associated with income and education.