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Improvements in Cardiorespiratory Fitness are not Significantly Associated With Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Reduction in Intensive Treatment

Voorendonk, E.M., Sanches, S.A., de Jongh, Ad ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6031-9708 and Van Minnen, A. (2019) Improvements in Cardiorespiratory Fitness are not Significantly Associated With Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Reduction in Intensive Treatment. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10 (1). Article no. 1654783. ISSN Print: 2000-8198 Online: 2000-8066

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Abstract

Background: Physical activity has been found to have positive effects on symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the importance and role of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in relation to PTSD treatment outcome is not yet clear. Objective: The purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that CRF would increase following intensive trauma-focused treatment (TFT) of PTSD augmented with physical activity, and that improved CRF would be associated with a significant decline in PTSD symptoms. Method: One hundred-eight individuals with severe PTSD (72% women; mean age = 40.44, SD = 11.55) were enrolled in an intensive TFT programme of 8 days within 2 consecutive weeks that consisted of daily prolonged exposure (PE), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and 6 hours of physical activity each day. CRF levels were assessed at baseline and post-treatment with a 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) and, in a subsample, with a submaximal ergometer test (PWC75%/kg). Severity of PTSD symptoms was measured with the PTSD Symptom Scale-Self Report (PSS-SR). Results: A significant increase in CRF from pre- to post-treatment and a significant decrease of PTSD-symptoms was found. However, CRF difference scores were not associated with treatment outcome. Conclusions: Although individuals with PTSD may show an increase in CRF following an intensive TFT programme augmented with physical activity and a decrease of PTSD-symptoms, the current findings do not support the notion that treatment outcome is related to CRF.

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© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/),
which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Uncontrolled Keywords: Post-traumatic stress disorder, physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, intensive trauma-focused treatment, 6-minute walk test, submaximal ergometer test
Divisions: Divisions (2019 and before) > Academic Departments > Institute of Health and Society
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Copyright Info: Open Access journal
SWORD Depositor: Prof. Pub Router
Depositing User: Tanya Buchanan
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2019 13:26
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 08:33
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/8581

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