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The efficacy of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression among Syrian refugees: results of a randomized controlled trial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 June 2016

C. Acarturk*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Istanbul Şehir University, Istanbul, Turkey
E. Konuk
Affiliation:
Institute for Behavioral Studies, Istanbul, Turkey
M. Cetinkaya
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Istanbul University Medical School, Istanbul, Turkey
I. Senay
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Istanbul Şehir University, Istanbul, Turkey
M. Sijbrandij
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
B. Gulen
Affiliation:
Kilis Refugee Camp, Kilis, Turkey
P. Cuijpers
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*
*Address for correspondence: C. Acarturk, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Istanbul Şehir University, 34660 Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey. (Email: cerenacarturk@sehir.edu.tr)

Abstract

Background

Previous research indicates a high prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among refugees. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an effective treatment for PTSD for victims of natural disasters, car accidents or other traumatic events. The current study examined the effect of EMDR on symptoms of PTSD and depression by comparing the treatment with a wait-list control condition in Syrian refugees.

Method

Adult refugees located in Kilis Refugee Camp at the Turkish–Syrian border with a PTSD diagnosis were randomly allocated to either EMDR (n = 37) or wait-list control (n = 33) conditions. All participants were assessed with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview Plus at pre-intervention, at 1 week after finishing the intervention and at 5 weeks after finishing the intervention. The main outcome measures were the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised. The Beck Depression Inventory and the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-25 were included as secondary outcome measures. The Trial Registration no. is NCT01847742.

Results

Mixed-model analyses adjusted for the baseline scores indicated a significant effect of group at post-treatment indicating that the EMDR therapy group showed a significantly larger reduction of PTSD symptoms as assessed with the HTQ. Similar findings were found on the other outcome measures. There was no effect of time or group × time interaction on any measure, showing that the difference between the groups at the post-treatment was maintained to the 5-week follow-up.

Conclusions

EMDR may be effective in reducing PTSD and depression symptoms among Syrian refugees with PTSD located in a refugee camp.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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