Gender Difference in Outcomes Following Trauma-Focused Interventions for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Objective: Currently, there is a lack of evidence on whether women and men respond differently to trauma-focused psychological treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study was a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine whether gender is associated with response to trauma-focused psychological interventions for PTSD. Method: The Cochrane Collaboration systematic review methodology (Higgins & Green, 2011) was used as a guide for this study. Randomized controlled trials comparing trauma-focused interventions for PTSD with comparison conditions were identified in a literature review. Results: Forty-eight randomized controlled trials were included in the meta-analysis: 25 had a mixed gender sample, 18 were female only, and 5 were male only. There was evidence that women had greater reductions than men in the primary outcome measure of clinician-rated PTSD symptoms when trauma-focused psychological interventions were compared with any comparison condition at both postintervention and short-term follow-up. This finding was supported by a direct effects meta-analysis of studies that provided data on both females and males. Conclusions: The current findings support a gender difference in outcomes following trauma-focused psychological interventions for PTSD. Future research should seek to identify specific factors related to gender that facilitate or inhibit response to these interventions.

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