The effect of childhood sexual assault history on outpatient cognitive processing therapy for military sexual trauma-related posttraumatic stress disorder: A preliminary investigation

Nicholas Holder, Ryan Holliday, Alina M Suris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


History of childhood sexual assault (CSA) may result in poorer emotion regulation and interpersonal functioning, potentially affecting the tolerability and effectiveness of evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Survivors of military sexual trauma (MST) have an increased incidence of CSA; however, research examining the role of CSA in EBTs for veterans with MST-related PTSD is limited. Data from 32 (9 male; 23 female) veterans with MST-related PTSD were used from a previously conducted randomized clinical trial examining the efficacy of an outpatient PTSD EBT (i.e., cognitive processing therapy [CPT]). Self-rated PTSD symptom severity was assessed at pretreatment, during treatment, and up to 6 months following treatment completion. Number of CPT sessions attended and treatment completion were also examined. Using a hierarchical linear modelling approach, results indicated both veterans with and without a history of CSA were found to benefit from CPT, and history of CSA did not significantly predict treatment response. Additionally, number of sessions attended and treatment completion did not significantly vary based on history of CSA. These preliminary findings provide support for the tolerability and efficacy of outpatient CPT in veterans with MST-related PTSD regardless of CSA history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStress and Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • childhood sexual assault
  • cognitive processing therapy
  • dropout
  • military sexual trauma
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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