Therapist-assisted online psychological therapies differing in trauma focus for post-traumatic stress disorder (STOP-PTSD): a UK-based, single-blind, randomised controlled trial

Elsevier, The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 10, August 2023
Ehlers A., Wild J., Warnock-Parkes E., Grey N., Murray H., Kerr A. et al.
Background: Many patients are currently unable to access psychological treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it is unclear which types of therapist-assisted internet-based treatments work best. We aimed to investigate whether a novel internet-delivered cognitive therapy for PTSD (iCT-PTSD), which implements all procedures of a first-line, trauma-focused intervention recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for PTSD, is superior to internet-delivered stress management therapy for PTSD (iStress-PTSD), a comprehensive cognitive behavioural treatment programme focusing on a wide range of coping skills. Methods: We did a single-blind, randomised controlled trial in three locations in the UK. Participants (≥18 years) were recruited from UK National Health Service (NHS) Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services or by self-referral and met DSM-5 criteria for PTSD to single or multiple events. Participants were randomly allocated by a computer programme (3:3:1) to iCT-PTSD, iStress-PTSD, or a 3-month waiting list with usual NHS care, after which patients who still met PTSD criteria were randomly allocated (1:1) to iCT-PTSD or iStress-PTSD. Randomisation was stratified by location, duration of PTSD (