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Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and trauma-informed care in higher levels of care for eating disorders

By Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED

Rienecke R. D., Blalock D. V., Duffy A., Manwaring J., Le Grange D., Johnson C., Mehler P. S. & McClanahan S. F. (2021). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and trauma-informed care in higher levels of care for eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders 54 627-632.

Introduction

The Eating Recovery Center Research Team, including Daniel Le Grange, Dan V. Blalock, Philip S. Mehler, Craig Johnson, Jamie Manwaring, Alan Duffy, Susan McClanahan and Renee D. Rienecke, examined the prevalence and trajectory of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among patients with eating disorders (EDs) in higher level of ED care with trauma-informed components, but without a formal evidence-based trauma intervention. Learn more about our research team here.

Objective

The purpose of the current study was to examine the prevalence and trajectory of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among patients with eating disorders (EDs) in higher level of ED care with trauma-informed components, but without a formal evidence-based trauma intervention.

Method

Participants were 613 adults diagnosed with EDs receiving treatment at inpatient, residential, or partial hospitalization levels of care. Participants completed the PTSD Checklist-5 (PCL-5) at admission and discharge.

Results

Over half of patients scored above the cutoff of 33 on the PCL-5 at admission, suggestive of PTSD symptoms characteristic of a formal PTSD diagnosis. The average PCL-5 score significantly decreased for every ED diagnostic category, and there was a significant reduction in the proportion of patients above the PCL-5 cutoff score at discharge. PCL-5 subscales measuring PTSD criteria B (intrusions) and C (avoidance) improved with modest effect sizes, whereas PCL-5 subscales D (negative alterations in cognitions and mood) and E (alterations in arousal and reactivity) improved with larger effect sizes.

Discussion

PTSD symptoms are prevalent among patients with EDs seeking higher levels of care. Despite not offering evidence-based trauma-specific interventions, PTSD symptoms decreased over the course of treatment. However, improvements cannot definitely be attributed to trauma-informed care.

Read study here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eat.23455 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.23455 

Written by

Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED

Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED, is a clinical psychologist and Director of Research for Eating Recovery Center/Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Centers and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Depa...
Written by

Dan Blalock

Dan Blalock is a health services researcher in the Health Services Research & Development Center of Innovation at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Assistant Consulting Professo...
Written by

Alan Duffy

Alan Duffy is Patient Experience & Research Manager at Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center in Denver, Colorado and a trained professional who specializes in the tre...
Written by

Jamie Manwaring

Dr. Manwaring earned her doctorate in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she published peer-reviewed research in the field of eating and weight disorders. Since joi...
Written by

Daniel Le Grange, PhD, FAED

Daniel Le Grange, PhD, holds a Distinguished Professorship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he is Benioff UCSF Professor in Children’s Health in the Departme...
Written by

Susan McClanahan, PhD, CEDS

Susan McClanahan, Ph.D., CEDS is the current Chairman of the ERC Pathlight Advisory Board and the Founder of Pathlight Behavioral Health Centers. Dr. McClanahan is a licensed clinical psy...