Internet-based prevention of posttraumatic stress symptoms in injured trauma patients: design of a randomized controlled trial

Joanne Mouthaan, Marit Sijbrandij, Johannes B. Reitsma, Berthold P. R. Gersons, Miranda Olff

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Injured trauma victims are at risk of developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other post-trauma psychopathology. So far, interventions using cognitive behavioral techniques (CBT) have proven most efficacious in treating early PTSD in highly symptomatic individuals. No early intervention for the prevention of PTSD for all victims has yet proven effective. In the acute psychosocial care for trauma victims, there is a clear need for easily applicable, accessible, cost-efficient early interventions. To describe the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluating the effectiveness of a brief Internet-based early intervention that incorporates CBT techniques with the aim of reducing acute psychological distress and preventing long-term PTSD symptoms in injured trauma victims. In a two armed RCT, 300 injured trauma victims from two Level-1 trauma centers in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, will be assigned to an intervention or a control group. Inclusion criteria are: being 18 years of age or older, having experienced a traumatic event according to the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV and understanding the Dutch language. The intervention group will be given access to the intervention's website (, and are specifically requested to login within the first month postinjury. The primary clinical study outcome is PTSD symptom severity. Secondary outcomes include symptoms of depression and anxiety, quality of life, and social support. In addition, a cost-effectiveness analysis of the intervention will be performed. Data are collected at one week post-injury, prior to first login (baseline), and at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Analyses will be on an intention-to-treat basis. The results will provide more insight into the effects of preventive interventions in general, and Internet-based early interventions specifically, on acute stress reactions and PTSD, in an injured population, during the acute phase after trauma. We will discuss possible strengths and limitations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8294
JournalEuropean journal of psychotraumatology
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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