A randomised controlled trial of therapist-assisted online psychological therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder (STOP-PTSD): trial protocol
Beierl, Esther T
Clark, David M
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Anke Ehlers, Jennifer Wild, Emma Warnock-Parkes, Nick Grey, Hannah Murray, Alice Kerr, Alexander Rozental, Esther T. Beierl, Apostolos Tsiachristas, Rafael Perera-Salazar, Gerhard Andersson & David M. Clark. A randomised controlled trial of therapist-assisted online psychological therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder (STOP-PTSD): trial protocol. Trials 21, 355 (2020).
Background: Over the last few decades, effective psychological treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been developed, but many patients are currently unable to access these treatments. There is initial evidence that therapist-assisted internet-based psychological treatments are effective for PTSD and may help increase access, but it remains unclear which of these treatments work best and are most acceptable to patients. This randomised controlled trial will compare a trauma-focussed and a nontrauma-focussed therapist-assisted cognitive behavioural Internet treatment for PTSD: Internet-delivered cognitive therapy for PTSD (iCT-PTSD) and internet-delivered stress management therapy (iStress-PTSD). Methods/design: The study is a single-blind, randomised controlled trial comparing iCT-PTSD, iStress-PTSD and a 13-week wait-list condition, with an embedded process study. Assessors of treatment outcome will be blinded to trial arm. Two hundred and seventeen participants who meet DSM-5 criteria for PTSD will be randomly allocated by a computer programme to iCT-PTSD, iStress-PTSD or wait-list at a 3:3:1 ratio. The primary assessment point is at 13 weeks, and further assessments are taken at 6, 26, 39 and 65 weeks. The primary outcome measure is the severity of PTSD symptoms as measured by the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). Secondary measures of PTSD symptoms are the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). Other symptoms and well-being will be assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), WHO (Five) Well-Being Index, Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS), Endicott Quality of Life Scale (QoL), and Insomnia Sleep Index (ISI). Health economics analyses will consider quality of life, productivity, health resource utilisation, employment status and state benefits, and treatment delivery costs. Process analyses will investigate candidate mediators and moderators of outcome. Patient experience will be assessed by interview and questionnaire. Discussion:This study will be the first to compare the efficacy of a trauma-focussed and nontrauma-focussed therapist-assisted online cognitive behavioural treatment for people with posttraumatic stress disorder.
The trial is funded by the Wellcome Trust, and is supported by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre. The trial is sponsored by the University of Oxford, Clinical Trials and Research Governance, The trial was adopted by the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio (reference: 36855).Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
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- Anxiety Disorders