Chinese My Trauma Recovery, A Web-Based Intervention for Traumatized Persons in Two Parallel Samples: Randomized Controlled Trial

Department of Psychology, School of Philosophy, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.
Journal of Medical Internet Research (Impact Factor: 3.43). 09/2013; 15(9):e213. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.2690
Source: PubMed


Guided self-help interventions for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are a promising tool for the dissemination of contemporary psychological treatment.
This study investigated the efficacy of the Chinese version of the My Trauma Recovery (CMTR) website.
In an urban context, 90 survivors of different trauma types were recruited via Internet advertisements and allocated to a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a waiting list control condition. In addition, in a rural context, 93 survivors mainly of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake were recruited in-person for a parallel RCT in which the website intervention was conducted in a counseling center and guided by volunteers. Assessment was completed online on a professional Chinese survey website. The primary outcome measure was the Post-traumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS); secondary outcome measures were Symptom Checklist 90-Depression (SCL-D), Trauma Coping Self-Efficacy Scale (CSE), Post-traumatic Cognitive Changes (PCC), and Social Functioning Impairment (SFI) questionnaires adopted from the My Trauma Recovery website.
For the urban sample, findings indicated a significant group×time interaction in post-traumatic symptom severity (F1,88=7.65, P=.007). CMTR reduced post-traumatic symptoms significantly with high effect size after one month of treatment (F1,45=15.13, Cohen's d=0.81, P<.001) and the reduction was sustained over a 3-month follow-up (F1,45=17.29, Cohen's d=0.87, P<.001). In the rural sample, the group×time interaction was also significant in post-traumatic symptom severity (F1,91=5.35, P=.02). Post-traumatic symptoms decreased significantly after treatment (F1,48=43.97, Cohen's d=1.34, P<.001) and during the follow-up period (F1,48=24.22, Cohen's d=0.99, P<.001). Additional outcome measures (post-traumatic cognitive changes, depression) indicated a range of positive effects, in particular in the urban sample (group×time interactions: F1,88=5.32-8.37, all Ps<.03), contributing to the positive evidence for self-help interventions. Differences in the effects in the two RCTs are exploratorily explained by sociodemographic, motivational, and setting feature differences between the two samples.
These findings give support for the short-term efficacy of CMTR in the two Chinese populations and contribute to the literature that self-help Web-based programs can be used to provide mental health help for traumatized persons.
Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12611000951954; (Archived by WebCite at

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Available from: Andreas Maercker, Jun 16, 2014
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