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Behavioral Treatments for Acute Stress Disorder In Firefighters

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by:
Boston University Identifier:
First received: September 13, 2005
Last updated: December 11, 2015
Last verified: December 2015
This study will develop a treatment for firefighters experiencing symptoms of acute stress disorder (ASD). Effective treatments may reduce immediate symptoms and prevent the development of more chronic conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Condition Intervention
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic Behavioral: Cognitive behavioral therapy Behavioral: Psychoeducation

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Developing Group Treatments for Acute Stress Disorder

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Boston University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Accute stress disorder symptoms [ Time Frame: Measured pre- and post-treatment and at follow-up assessments 1 and 3 months after the intervention ]

Enrollment: 169
Study Completion Date: May 2009
Primary Completion Date: December 2005 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1 Cognitive behavioral therapy Behavioral: Cognitive behavioral therapy
Participants will learn cognitive behavioral strategies for symptom reduction
Experimental: 2 Psychoeducation Behavioral: Psychoeducation
Participants will receive psychoeducation regarding common reactions to traumatic events

Detailed Description:

Exposure to traumatic events has reached unprecedented proportions in American society, and the rates of PTSD have risen significantly, particularly among populations with repetitive exposure to critical incidents. The continued threat of attacks against Americans warrants development of preventive interventions to reduce the occurrence of PTSD and its precursor, ASD. This study will determine the effectiveness of a preventive treatment in urban firefighters who have experienced a traumatic event.

Firefighters will undergo an initial assessment that will include an interview and self-report questionnaires to measure depression, anxiety, coping skills, social support, physical health, and work functioning. Following the occurrence of a traumatic work-related event, firefighters will be reassessed. The post-incident assessment will consist of self-report questionnaires that assess ASD symptoms.

Participants who display ASD symptoms will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: the first group will learn cognitive behavioral strategies for symptom reduction, and the second group will receive psychoeducation regarding common reactions to traumatic events. Participants' treatment will last for 12 weeks. Participants will have follow-up assessments 1 and 3 months after the interventional part of the study. Assessments will include clinical scales and interviews.


Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Currently an active duty, nonofficer member of a Boston area fire department
  • Willing and able to comply with all study requirements

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Pregnancy or plan to become pregnant during the study
  • Plan to relocate within 2 months of study entry
  • Psychotic symptoms within 30 days prior to study entry
  • Experiencing severe depression at study entry OR having suicidal thoughts within 30 days prior to study entry
  • Evidence of severe organic impairment that would interfere with participation in the study
  • Current alcohol or substance dependence
  • Currently awaiting outcome of a court case involving exposure to traumatic events through the fire department
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00183508

United States, Massachusetts
Boston Veterans Healthcare System
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02114
Sponsors and Collaborators
Boston University
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Rose T. Zimering, PhD Boston Veterans Healthcare System
  More Information

Responsible Party: Rose T. Zimering, PhD, Boston Veterans Healthcare System Identifier: NCT00183508     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21MH064584 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: September 13, 2005
Last Updated: December 11, 2015

Keywords provided by Boston University:
Occupational Health

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Traumatic, Acute
Pathologic Processes
Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on August 16, 2017