Interventions to reduce distress in adult victims of rape and sexual violence: a systematic review

Author(s)Regehr, Cheryl, Ramona Alaggia, Jane Dennis, Annabel Pitts and Michael Saini
Title Interventions to reduce distress in adult victims of rape and sexual violence: a systematic review
Source Research on Social Work Practice;May 2013; Vol 23; No 3; pp 257-265
Date 2013
Document type Journal article
Summary This article systematically evaluates interventions aimed at reducing distress in adult victims of sexual assault. Studies were selected for inclusion in the review if they used random assignment or parallel cohort designs in which groups were assessed at the same points in time. It was found that few studies used rigorous randomised control methods to evaluate efficacy of treatments. Six studies were found to meet the criteria. The studies analysed used EMDR, CPT, PE, SIT and all six studies demonstrated improvements in PTSD and depression. In addition three studies demonstrated improvements in anxiety, one in guilt and two in dissociation, when compared with controls. The authors acknowledged the limitations of the review, particularly the small number of studies, but conclude that the results of the analysis are strong and compelling. It is suggested there is a need for more controlled studies that evaluate interventions that will be most suitable for relieving distress in victims, particularly in the form of PTSD, depression and anxiety.
Keywords Psychological; sexual assault; rape; sexual abuse; PTSD: EMDR; CPT; PE; and SIT.
Topic Psychological effects and treatment