Evaluation of an outpatient intervention for women with severe depression and a history of childhood trauma

Verónica G. Vitriol, Soledad T. Ballesteros, Ramón U. Florenzano, Kristina P. Weil, Dafna F. Benadof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The study examined the effectiveness of a three-month structured outpatient intervention developed for women with severe depression and childhood trauma that used brief psychodynamic psychotherapy by comparing it to standard treatment recommended in clinical guidelines issued by the Chilean Ministry of Health. Methods: Eighty-seven women who sought treatment from a public health service in Curicó, Chile, and who had severe depression and a history of childhood traumatic experiences were randomly assigned to receive either the intervention (N=44) or standard treatment (N=43). The participants were assessed at baseline and at three months (completion of the intervention) and six months with use of the Hamilton Depression Scale (Ham-D); Lambert's Outcome Questionnaire (OQ-45.2), which rates psychiatric symptoms, interpersonal relationships, and social role functioning; and the Post-traumatic Stress Treatment Outcome scale (PTO 8), which assesses symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. An intent-to-treat design was used with multiple analyses of variance. Results: At three months significant differences were found in favor of the intervention group in Ham-D scores (p<.001) and OQ-45.2 scores (p<.05). At six months a significantly greater proportion of the intervention group had indicators of remission as measured by the OQ-45.2 (39% versus 14%, p<.05) and by the Ham-D (22% versus 5%, p<.05). Scores on the PTO 8 indicated significant improvements in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms at six months, although there were no significant differences between the groups. Conclusions: An outpatient intervention that screened for and focused on childhood traumas and that helped patients understand current psychosocial difficulties as a repetition of past traumas was effective in reducing psychiatric symptoms and improving interpersonal relationships and social role functioning among women with severe depression and a history of childhood trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-942
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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