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Cortisol Response Following Exposure Treatment for PTSD in Rape Victims

NCJ Number
Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment &Trauma Volume: 19 Issue: 4 Dated: June 2010 Pages: 349-356
Maryrose Gerardi; Barbara O. Rothbaum; Millie C. Astin; Mary Kelley
Date Published
June 2010
8 pages
This study examined cortisol levels in a sample of female rape victims being treated for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This study examined changes in salivary cortisol levels pre- to posttreatment in adult female rape victims diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) randomly assigned to be treated with either prolonged exposure therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Salivary cortisol was collected at baseline, Session 3, and Session 9. A significant decrease in salivary cortisol levels was observed in individuals classified as treatment responders in both treatment conditions. Findings suggest that successful exposure-based treatments for PTSD that result in trauma-related and depressive symptom reduction may impact the action of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as measured by changes in level of salivary cortisol from pre- to posttreatment. Tables and references (Published Abstract)