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Self-Defense Training in Women With Trauma

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01380379
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : June 27, 2011
Results First Posted : February 1, 2017
Last Update Posted : February 1, 2017
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Jennifer Keller, Stanford University

Brief Summary:
Previous research has shown that self-defense training can lead to gains in women's assertiveness, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and physical competence, and decreases in anxiety, helplessness, fear, and avoidant behaviors. However, most of this research has been conducted with healthy women who had not previously experienced physical or sexual violence. The investigators believe that women with such trauma histories require additional care because of potential triggering symptoms. As such, the investigators are mindful of the potential for triggering trauma symptoms and will work with the women so that they feel safe and comfortable in their participation. This pilot study aims to examine whether similar psychological gains from self-defense training are made in women who have previous experiences of physical and/or sexual violence.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Depression Anxiety Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic Behavioral: Life skills and self-defense training Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

There is a high rate of violence against women in the United States. For example, at least 1 in 6 women will experience an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (Tjaden & Thoenees, 2000). The high physical, emotional, economic and social costs of such violence are staggering. In particular, there can be a serious impact on mental health, with both immediate and long-term consequences (e.g., Coker et al., 2000). The aim of this project is to examine the psychological benefits of a class, which incorporates psychological and physical self-defense skills, for women who have been the victim of sexual or physical violence.

A small literature suggests that women who take self-defense classes have increases in general self-efficacy and self-esteem (e.g.,Ozer and Bandura, 1990). This project is focusing on women who already have a history of physical or sexual violence. The investigators hypothesize that women who already have such a history of violence will benefit from a self-defense class that incorporates psychoeducation and brief psychology treatments in order to successfully participate in such a class and that ultimately it will improve their psychological well-being.

Potential participants will first do a short phone screening to see whether they may be eligible for the study. If so, they will be brought into the clinic for a full eligibility assessment.

Eligibility Procedures: Before entering the study, participants will participate in an eligibility interview. This will consist of a psychiatric interview (e.g., portions of the SCID and psychiatric rating scales), trauma history (e.g. CAPS), and physical health assessment. Participants will either need approval from their primary care physician to participate in the physical self-defense portion of the study or have a brief physical exam will a physician on the research team.

If the participant is eligible for the study, they will be added to the list of participants. Once an adequate number of participants have been screened and determine eligible for the study, they will participate in the group for 8 weeks.

Participants will fill out a series of questionnaires pre- and post- the course. Each set of questionnaires should take less than 1 hour to complete. In addition, the investigators conducted a 6-month post-class, follow up assessment.

Self-defense class: The self-defense program is an eight week curriculum that meets once per week for 2.5 hours per session. The course which involves three components. The first component is a psycho-educational component which provides current basic information about physical and sexual assaults and also skill building, such as assertiveness, communication skills, and boundary setting. The second component of each class is physical resistance techniques which offers ample training. This includes information about basic targets, punches, and kicks, as well as breaking out of holds and other resistance skills. The third component of each class includes a supportive psychotherapy debriefing session. Following participation in the self-defense class all participants will be required to come for an in-person, debriefing interview.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 9 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Pilot Study of Self-Defense Training in Women With Trauma
Study Start Date : April 2011
Actual Primary Completion Date : August 2013
Actual Study Completion Date : November 2015

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Life skills and self-defense training
Women will participate in a therapeutic group which covers education, skills, and empowerment activities.
Behavioral: Life skills and self-defense training
8 week class which meets once per week for 2.5 hours. Each class contains the following components: 1) life skills/education training. This includes basic education about physical and sexual assaults, assault risks, dating and communication, assertiveness training and boundary setting, 2) physical self-defense training, 3) supportive therapy/debriefing.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Self-efficacy From Baseline to Post-treatment [ Time Frame: Change in GSE from baseline to 8 weeks ]
    General self-efficacy (Schwartz and Jerusalem, 1993) is a measure of one's perceived self-competence. Scores are summed across 10 items, and range between 10-40, where higher scores reflect a stronger sense of personal competence.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Assertiveness Between Baseline and Post-intervention [ Time Frame: Change in assertiveness from baseline to post-class (8 weeks) ]

    Measured by the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule (Rathus, 1973). Rathus Assertiveness Scale is a 30-item scale assessing assertive behavior in a variety of situations. Each item is rated on a 6-point Likert scale from +3 (very characteristic of me) to -3 (very uncharacteristic of me). Total scores range from +90, which is equivalent of very assertive behavior to -90, which is equivalent to very unassertive behavior.

    The positive change indicates an increase in assertive behavior.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Women ages 21-65 years
  2. History of physical and/or sexual violence, with subsequent interpersonal or psychological distress (e.g., depression or anxiety) related to this history.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Substance abuse in the past 6 months
  2. Significant medical conditions that would preclude safe participation in the study
  3. High levels of depression with significant suicide risk
  4. Pregnant women
  5. Active symptoms of psychosis or psychiatric instability
  6. History of assaultive behavior or is judged to be at potential risk to assault others.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01380379

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United States, California
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California, United States, 94305
Sponsors and Collaborators
Stanford University
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Principal Investigator: Jennifer Keller Stanford University
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Responsible Party: Jennifer Keller, Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University Identifier: NCT01380379    
Other Study ID Numbers: SU-04152011-7701
First Posted: June 27, 2011    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: February 1, 2017
Last Update Posted: February 1, 2017
Last Verified: December 2016
Keywords provided by Jennifer Keller, Stanford University:
physical violence
sexual violence
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
Mental Disorders