Written exposure as an intervention for PTSD: A randomized clinical trial with motor vehicle accident survivors

Denise M. Sloan*, Brian P. Marx, Michelle J. Bovin, Brian A. Feinstein, Matthew W. Gallagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The present study examined the efficacy of a brief, written exposure therapy (WET) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants were 46 adults with a current primary diagnosis of motor vehicle accident-related PTSD. Participants were randomly assigned to either WET or a waitlist (WL) condition. Independent assessments took place at baseline and 6-, 18-, and 30-weeks post baseline (WL condition not assessed at 30 weeks). Participants assigned to WET showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity at 6- and 18-week post-baseline, relative to WL participants, with large between-group effect sizes. In addition, significantly fewer WET participants met diagnostic criteria for PTSD at both the 6- and 18-week post-baseline assessments, relative to WL participants. Treatment gains were maintained for the WET participants at the 30-week post baseline assessment. Notably, only 9% of participants dropped out of WET and the WET participants reported a high degree of satisfaction with the treatment. These findings suggest that a brief, written exposure treatment may efficaciously treat PTSD. Future research should examine whether WET is efficacious with other PTSD samples, as well as compare the efficacy of WET with that of evidence-based treatments for PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-635
Number of pages9
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Clinical trial
  • Exposure treatment
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • PTSD
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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