Does seeking safety reduce PTSD symptoms in women receiving physical disability compensation

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry, Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Women's Health


OBJECTIVE: This secondary analysis investigated the impact of 12 sessions of Seeking Safety (SS) on reducing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in a sample of dually diagnosed women with physical disabilities versus nondisabled (ND) women. SS is an evidence-based and widely implemented manualized therapy for PTSD and/or substance use disorder. It is a present-focused model that promotes coping skills and psychoeducation.

DESIGN: As part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network (NIDA CTN), 353 participants with current PTSD and substance use disorder (SUD) were randomly assigned to partial-dose SS or Women's Health Education (WHE) group therapy conducted in community-based substance abuse treatment programs. The women were categorized as participants with disabilities (PWD; n = 20) or ND (n = 333) based on the question, "Do you receive a pension for a physical disability?" PTSD was assessed on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) at baseline and follow-ups after treatment (1 week, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months).

RESULTS: PWD experienced sustained reductions in PTSD symptoms when treated with SS but not WHE. Indeed, PTSD symptoms of PWD in WHE returned to baseline levels of severity by 12-month follow-up. This pattern of results was not observed among ND women, who sustained improvements on PTSD in both treatment conditions.

IMPLICATIONS: These results suggest strong potential for using SS to treat PTSD among women with physical disabilities, and speak to the genuine need to address trauma and PTSD more directly with PWD. Our results are also consistent with other findings from the NIDA CTN trial, in which virtually all significant results evidenced SS outperforming WHE.

DOI of Published Version



Rehabil Psychol. 2014 Aug;59(3):349-53. doi: 10.1037/a0036869. Epub 2014 Jun 30. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Rehabilitation psychology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed