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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2003 Mar;191(3):161-5.

Treatment preferences and determinants in victims of sexual and physical assault.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Avenue, Box 355911, Seattle, WA 98104-2499, USA.


To determine the treatment preferences (, medication, counseling, or both) for victims of recent trauma at risk for posttraumatic stress disorder and the determinants of those choices, preferences were elicited from 466 consecutive victims of physical or sexual assault at an urban emergency department as part of the routine clinical evaluation by emergency department social workers. Demographics, assault characteristics, and clinical history were used to predict preference. More than 80% of victims expressed an interest in treatment, with more interested in counseling (76%) than medication (62%). Female gender and assaults of a sexual nature were most highly predictive of preference for medication, whereas female gender, sexual assault, a history of psychiatric treatment, and perceived life threat from the trauma were most predictive of preference for counseling and preference for any treatment. Because treatment preferences were easily obtained from assault victims seeking emergency care, the elicitation of these treatment preferences and the consideration of them in the treatment planning process could facilitate engagement in treatment and overcome the avoidance of treatment by some victims.

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