Background Recent studies show that individual single-session psychological debriefing does not prevent and can even aggravate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Aims We studied the effect of emotional ventilation debriefing and educational debriefing v. no debriefing on symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Method We randomised 236 adult survivors of a recenttraumatic eventto either emotional ventilation debriefing, educational debriefing or no debriefing (control) and followed up at 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 6 months.
Results Psychiatric symptoms decreased in all three groups over time, without significantdifferences between the groups in symptoms of PTSD (P=0.33). Participants in the emotional debriefing group with high baseline hyperarousal score had significantly more PTSD symptoms at 6 weeks than control participants (P=0.005).
Conclusions Our study did not provide evidence for the usefulness of individual psychological debriefing in reducing symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression after psychological trauma.
- © 2006 Royal College of Psychiatrists