Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & Treatment ISSN: 2324-8947

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Research Article, J Trauma Stress Disor Treat Vol: 4 Issue: 1

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Aerobic Exercise for Survivors of Sexual Violence with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Feasibility Study

Erika N Smith1*, Robert J. Rotunda2 and Ludmila Cosio-Lima2
1Kansas State University, USA
2University of West Florida, USA
Corresponding author : Erika N. Smith
Kansas State University, 139 Campus Creek Complex, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
Tel: 1-334-663-3818
Fax: 1-785-532-6523
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: April 31, 2014 Accepted: August 19, 2014 Published: August 26, 2014
Citation: Smith EN (2015) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Aerobic Exercise for Survivors of Sexual Violence with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Feasibility Study. J Trauma Stress Disor Treat 4:1. doi:10.4172/2324-8947.1000136

Abstract

 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Aerobic Exercise for Survivors of Sexual Violence with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Feasibility Study

Sexual violence is a significant and pervasive public health issue impacting women. Due to the high prevalence rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among this population, women who have experienced sexual assault may constitute the largest group of individuals suffering from PTSD in the United States. Although effective treatments for PTSD have been developed, survivors of sexual violence may be reluctant to seek formal treatment such as psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy and remission may be difficult to obtain using these interventions. Given that research supports the psychological benefits of aerobic exercise for reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, which commonly co-occur with PTSD, aerobic exercise may also reduce symptoms of PTSD. We discuss a strategy to examine the impact and feasibility of incorporating an adjunct aerobic exercise intervention as a treatment for PTSD among women who experienced sexual violence. Fourteen participants received cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or CBT plus group aerobic exercise sessions (CBT+E). Feasibility was measured by participant retention and adherence. Acceptability was assessed using a questionnaire. The findings support that it is feasible to conduct a study to evaluate a package of interventions that include an evidence-based treatment for PTSD and aerobic exercise. The high rates of participant retention and satisfaction suggest that exercise is an acceptable intervention among this population. Our results indicate that a large, randomized controlled trial to explore the efficacy of aerobic exercise for the treatment of PTSD among adult women survivors of sexual violence would be safe and feasible. Methodological challenges in conducting this research as well as suggestions for further examination of exercise interventions with adult survivors of sexual violence are discussed.

Keywords: Cognitive behavioral therapy; Sexual violence; Aerobic exercise; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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