Expressive writing treatments to reduce PTSD symptom severity and negative alcohol-related outcomes among trauma-exposed sexual minority women and transgender/nonbinary people: Study protocol for a mixed-method pilot trial

Jillian R. Scheer, Kriti Behari, Aubriana A. Schwarz, Cory J. Cascalheira, Emily C. Helminen, Sophia A. Pirog, Virinca Jaipuriyar, Tami P. Sullivan, Abigail W. Batchelder, Skyler D. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Sexual minority women (SMW) and transgender and/or nonbinary (TNB) individuals report an elevated prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and negative alcohol-related outcomes compared to heterosexual women and cisgender people. SMW and TNB individuals also face barriers to utilizing treatment, which can result in delayed or missed appointments. Accessible, feasible, and effective treatment approaches, such as web-based expressive writing (EW) treatments, are needed to address PTSD and negative alcohol-related outcomes in these populations. Method: We describe the design of a mixed-method pilot randomized controlled trial which will compare an EW treatment adapted for SMW and TNB people (stigma-adapted EW) and trauma (i.e., non-adapted) EW with an active (neutral-event) control to determine acceptability and feasibility of a future fully powered randomized controlled trial. The sample will include 150 trauma-exposed SMW and TNB individuals from across the United States who will be randomly assigned to stigma-adapted EW (n = 50), trauma EW (n = 50), or control (n = 50). Participants will be assessed before treatment, one-week after the first writing session, and three-months after the first writing session. This paper identifies steps for evaluating the acceptability and feasibility of the proposed study and determining changes in outcomes resulting from adapted and non-adapted EW treatments to inform refinements. This paper also highlights our strategy for testing theory-driven mediators and moderators of treatment outcomes. Conclusions: This mixed-method pilot trial will inform the first fully powered, self-administered, brief web-based treatment to reduce PTSD symptom severity and negative alcohol-related outcomes among trauma-exposed SMW and TNB individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101197
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
Volume35
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Expressive writing treatments
  • Negative alcohol-related outcomes
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Sexual minority women
  • Transgender and/or nonbinary individuals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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