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Supplementary Material for: Brief Internet-Based Intervention Reduces Posttraumatic Stress and Prolonged Grief in Parents after the Loss of a Child during Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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posted on 20.09.2013, 00:00 by Kersting A., Dölemeyer R., Steinig J., Walter F., Kroker K., Baust K., Wagner B.
Background: The loss of a child during pregnancy causes significant psychological distress for many women and their partners, and may lead to long-lasting psychiatric disorders. Internet-based interventions using exposure techniques and cognitive restructuring have proved effective for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and prolonged grief. This study compared the effects of an Internet-based intervention for parents after prenatal loss with a waiting list condition (WLC). Methods: The Impact of Event Scale - Revised assessed symptoms of PTSD; the Inventory of Complicated Grief and the Brief Symptom Inventory assessed depression, anxiety, and general mental health. The 228 participants (92% female) were randomly allocated to a treatment group (TG; n = 115) or a WLC group (n = 113). The TG received a 5-week cognitive behavioral intervention including (1) self-confrontation, (2) cognitive restructuring, and (3) social sharing. Results: The TG showed significantly reduced symptoms of posttraumatic stress, prolonged grief, depression, and anxiety relative to the WLC control group. Intention-to-treat analysis revealed treatment effects of between d = 0.84 and d = 1.02 for posttraumatic stress and prolonged grief from pre- to posttreatment time points. Further significant improvement in all symptoms of PTSD and prolonged grief was found from the posttreatment evaluation to the 12-month follow-up. The attrition rate of 14% was relatively low. Conclusions: The Internet-based intervention proved to be a feasible and cost-effective treatment, reducing symptoms of posttraumatic stress, grief, depression, anxiety, and general mental health after pregnancy loss. Low-threshold e-health interventions should be further evaluated and implemented routinely to improve psychological support after pregnancy loss.