Background: The effects of treatment in trials with
trauma-affected refugees vary considerably not only between studies but
also between patients within a single study. However, we know little
about why some patients benefit more from treatment, as few studies have
analysed predictors of treatment outcome.
Objective: The objective of the study was to examine possible psychosocial predictors of treatment outcome for trauma-affected refugees.
Method: The participants were 195 adult refugees with
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who were enrolled in a 6- to
7-month treatment programme at the Competence Centre for Transcultural
Psychiatry (CTP), Denmark. The CTP Predictor Index used in the study
included 15 different possible outcome predictors concerning the
patients’ past, chronicity of mental health problems, pain, treatment
motivation, prerequisites for engaging in psychotherapy, and social
situation. The primary outcome measure was PTSD symptoms measured on the
Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ). Other outcome measures included the
Hopkins Symptom Check List-25, the WHO-5 Well-being Index, Sheehan
Disability Scale, Hamilton Depression and Anxiety Scales, the
somatisation scale of the Symptoms Checklist-90, Global Assessment of
Functioning scales, and pain rated on visual analogue scales. The
relations between treatment outcomes and the total score as well as
subscores of the CTP Predictor Index were analysed.
Results: Overall, the total score of the CTP Predictor
Index was significantly correlated to pre- to post treatment score
changes on the majority of the ratings mentioned above. While employment
status was the only single item significantly correlated to HTQ-score
changes, a number of single items from the CTP Predictor Index
correlated significantly with changes in depression and anxiety
symptoms, but the size of the correlation coefficients were modest.
Conclusions: The total score of the CTP Predictor Index
correlated significantly with outcomes on most of the rating scales,
but correlations were modest in size, possibly due to the number of
different factors influencing treatment outcome.