Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is highly prevalent in military populations, and is associated with significant medical costs. Due to these high costs and corresponding health infrastructure required to meet the needs of military service personnel, it is essential that the most effective and efficient treatments be implemented. Exposure therapy (EXP) is one of the most widely used and empirically supported treatments for PTSD; however, some researchers have questioned its efficacy with specific populations and in targeting specific symptoms. One such symptom, guilt, has garnered increased attention in the PTSD treatment literature, as it is associated with worse symptomatology and outcomes. The current study examined cognitive changes in guilt in response to Intensive (3-week) and standard (17-week) Trauma Management Therapy (TMT) and the impact of these cognitions on the mechanisms underlying TMT treatment. Sample size for these analyses varied by the measure being considered. 102 individuals completed the PCL-M, 42 individuals completed the TRGI, and 39 individuals completed the CAPS supplemental guilt items. Results suggest that a secondary benefit in guilt symptoms is achieved by targeting anxious-related distress with exposure therapy. Furthermore, in this sample guilt did not seem to inhibit the mechanisms or effectiveness of exposure therapy.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Trachik, Benjamin, "Combat Related Guilt and the Mechanisms of Intensive Exposure Therapy" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5341.