OBJECTIVE: This online study examined the effects of a single imaginal exposure-writing assignment on posttraumatic stress (PTS) and comorbid depressive symptoms.
METHOD: Forty-six participants with PTS were allocated to either a single imaginal exposure-writing assignment, a nontrauma writing assignment, or to a nonwriting control condition, and were reassessed 2 and 5 weeks after baseline. Of the 49 participants, 36 were female, with an average age of 23. Participation was conducted through Qualtrics. Effects were assessed with the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS) and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II).
RESULTS: PTS and depressive symptoms decreased over time regardless of the study condition.
CONCLUSIONS: We found no support for the efficacy of a single imaginal exposure-writing assignment in reducing PTS or comorbid depressive symptoms. Suggestions are given for future studies that attempt to identify a minimal dose of imaginal exposure writing for PTS.