University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Augmenting PTSD treatment with physical activity: study protocol of the APPART study (Augmentation for PTSD with Physical Activity in a Randomized Trial)

Voorendonk, E.M., Sanches, S.A., Tollenaar, M.S. and de Jongh, Ad (2022) Augmenting PTSD treatment with physical activity: study protocol of the APPART study (Augmentation for PTSD with Physical Activity in a Randomized Trial). European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 13 (1). p. 2016219. ISSN Print ISSN: 2000-8198 Online ISSN: 2000-8066

Text (Open Access article)
20008198.2021.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (1MB) | Preview


New intensive trauma-focused treatment (TFT) programmes that incorporate physical activity have been developed for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the unique contribution of physical activity within these intensive TFT programmes has never been investigated in a controlled manner.

This randomized controlled trial will investigate the effectiveness of physical activity added to an intensive TFT programme. In addition, the study aims to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the effects of physical activity on the change in PTSD symptoms.

Individuals with PTSD (N = 120) will be randomly allocated to two conditions: a physical activity or a non-physical active control condition. All participants will receive the same intensive TFT lasting eight days within two consecutive weeks, in which daily prolonged exposure and EMDR therapy sessions, and psycho-education are combined. The amount of physical activity will differ per condition. While the physical activity condition induces daily physical activities with moderate intensity, in the non-physical active control condition no physical activity is prescribed; but instead, a controlled mixture of guided (creative) tasks is performed. The two primary outcome measures are change in PTSD symptoms from pre- to post-treatment and at six months follow-up, measured with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5), and the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). Additionally, self-reported sleep problems, depressive symptoms, emotion regulation, dissociation symptoms and anxiety sensitivity will be measured as potential underlying mechanisms.

This study will contribute to the research field of augmentation strategies for PTSD treatment by investigating the effectiveness of physical activity added to intensive TFT.

Trial registration
This trial is registered in the Netherlands Trial Register (Trial NL9120).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Post-traumatic stress disorder, physical activity, exercise, randomized controlled trial, intensive trauma-focused treatment, mediators, prolonged exposure, EMDR therapy
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Depositing User: Miranda Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2022 12:30
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2022 12:30

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.