Efficacy of individual and group cognitive processing therapy for military personnel with and without child abuse histories.

LoSavio, S. T., Hale, W. J., Moring, J. C., Blankenship, A. E., Dondanville, K. A., Wachen, J. S., Mintz, J., Peterson, A. L., Litz, B. T., Young-McCaughan, S., Yarvis, J., & Resick, P. A., for the STRONG STAR Consortium.
May 1, 2021

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 89(5), 476-482.


Many clinicians question whether patients with a history of childhood trauma will benefit from trauma-focused treatment. In this secondary analysis, we examined whether reports of childhood abuse moderated the efficacy of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for active-duty military with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Service members (N = 254, mean age 33.11 years, 91% male, 41% Caucasian) were randomized to receive individual or group CPT (n = 106 endorsing and n = 148 not endorsing history of childhood abuse). Outcomes included baseline cognitive-emotional characteristics [Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory (PTCI), Trauma-Related Guilt Inventory (TRGI), Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire-Short Form (CERQ)], treatment completion, and symptom outcome (PTSD Checklist, Beck Depression Inventory-II). We predicted participants endorsing childhood abuse would have higher scores on the PTCI, TRGI, and CERQ at baseline, but be noninferior on treatment completion and change in PTSD and depression symptoms. We also predicted those endorsing childhood abuse would do better in individual CPT than those not endorsing abuse.


Those endorsing childhood abuse primarily experienced physical abuse. There were no baseline differences between service members with and without a history of childhood abuse (all p = .07). Collapsed across treatment arms, treatment completion and symptom reduction were within the noninferiority margins for those endorsing versus not endorsing childhood abuse. History of abuse did not moderate response to individual versus group CPT.


In this primarily male, primarily physically abused sample, active-duty military personnel with PTSD who endorsed childhood abuse benefitted as much as those who did not endorse abuse.