Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 October 2009
Among the consequences of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, are increased awareness of and interest in the psychological effects of trauma and their treatment. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the psychosocial treatments for chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and interventions designed to prevent the development of the disorder that have been found to be effective in randomized controlled studies. To date, no controlled studies investigating treatments for PTSD following terrorist attacks have been published.Until then, we must extrapolate from the extensive research on effective treatments for chronic PTSD and acute stress disorder (ASD) following other types of trauma. Such extrapolation can be justified on at least two grounds. First, epidemiological studies conducted within the year following 9/11 (e.g., Galea et al., 2002; Schlenger et al., 2002) indicate that PTSD is a common reaction to terrorist attack and that the various risk factors for the development of PTSD following such attacks are similar to those identified following other kinds of traumatic events (e.g., gender, degree of exposure to the trauma, history of prior stressors, level of social support).
Second, the cognitive behavioral treatments that have been demonstrated to be effective in alleviating PTSD symptoms and associated anxiety and depression have been tested across a wide range of trauma populations including, but not limited to, male combat veterans; female victims of sexual assault; male and female victims of physical assault, survivors of serious accidents (motor vehicle, industrial), and political refugees some of whom were victims of torture.