Publications by authors named "Nadine Stammel"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Is only one cognitive technique also effective? Results from a randomized controlled trial of two different versions of an internet-based cognitive behavioural intervention for post-traumatic stress disorder in Arabic-speaking countries.

Eur J Psychotraumatol 2021;12(1):1943870. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Department of Clinical Psychological Intervention, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Background: Internet-based cognitive-behavioural interventions seem to be effective for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Arabic-speaking countries in the MENA region. However, due to high prevalence rates of trauma-related mental disorders in this region, it is important to scale up existing Internet-based interventions in order to increase the number of clients.

Objective: The aim of the study was to examine whether a brief Internet-based intervention with one cognitive technique (TF-short, 6 assignments) results in the same PTSD symptom change and lower dropouts compared to a longer intervention with two cognitive techniques (TF-reg, 10 assignments).

Method: A total of 224 Arab participants (67.4% female; = 25.3 years old) with PTSD were randomly assigned to Internet-based CBT with either a TF-reg protocol ( = 110) or a TF-short protocol ( = 114). Symptoms of PTSD and secondary outcomes (anxiety, depression, somatic complaints, quality of life) were self-assessed online at baseline and post-treatment. Treatment-associated changes were estimated using multigroup latent difference score models.

Results: The overall PTSD score assessed with the PDS decreased by about 15 points in both conditions. The between-group differences (TF-reg vs. TF-short) at post-assessment were non-significant, Δ = 0.29, = .896, = 0.02, 95% CI [-0.30, 0.34]. Like the primary outcome, all within-group changes for the secondary outcomes throughout the intervention were statistically significant and all between-group effects were non-significant. Overall, the dropout rates did not differ between the two conditions, χ2 (1/ = 175) = 0.83, = .364.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that the shorter condition results in the same symptom change and dropout rate as the longer condition. This highlights the potential of shorter, more scalable Internet-based interventions in socially restricted and (post-)conflict societies.

Clinicaltrialsgov Id: NCT01508377.
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July 2021

Posttraumatic stress in adult civilians exposed to violent conflict, war and associated human rights abuses in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

J Affect Disord 2021 Nov 26;294:605-627. Epub 2021 Jun 26.

Division of Clinical Psychological Intervention, Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Background: The Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) is the stage of the world's most violent conflicts and the origin of the largest refugee population worldwide. These conflicts can result in symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS). To date, no comprehensive meta-analysis on proportions of PTS in civilians from the EMR has been conducted. Sample characteristics, methodological, conflict-related and displacement-related factors might affect rates of PTS.

Methods: A systematic literature search for studies investigating PTS in adult civilians from the EMR was conducted until March 2020 and resulted in 118 individual study samples that were suitable for inclusion. A quality assessment was conducted. A random effects meta-analysis on proportions and sensitivity analyses were performed, and a 95% prediction interval was calculated. Subgroup analyses to identify moderators (e.g. diagnostic instruments, displacement) were conducted.

Results: The quality of the included study samples varied. The pooled estimate of proportions from all 118 study samples was 0.31 (95% CI: 0.27 - 0.35). Heterogeneity was considerable (Q = 10151.58, p < .0001; I = 98.64%). The prediction interval was 0.01 to 0.76. The results remained unchanged after excluding nine outlier study samples. Heterogeneity remained high in all subgroups (range of I: 87.91 to 99.62).

Limitations: Due to heterogeneity the pooled estimate cannot be interpreted. Moderators contributing to heterogeneity could not be detected.

Conclusions: The proportion of symptoms of PTS in civilians from the EMR varies considerably. The prediction interval indicates that the true rate falls between 1% and 76%. Future studies need to identify variables that affect heterogeneity.
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November 2021

Association Between Prolonged Grief and Attitudes Toward Reconciliation in Bereaved Survivors of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia.

Front Psychiatry 2020 10;11:644. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

Department of Clinical Psychological Intervention, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Background: During the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, about a quarter of the population died, resulting in many individuals losing close relatives. Still today, many individuals are suffering from the psychological consequences of these losses, which might also affect the process of reconciliation within the Cambodian society. The aim of this paper is therefore to investigate the association between symptoms of prolonged grief and attitudes toward reconciliation.

Methods: A sample of 775 survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime who lost relatives during the conflict were interviewed about their losses and traumatic events, prolonged grief (PG; Complicated Grief Assessment Self-Report, CGA-SR), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD Checklist - Civilian Version) and attitudes toward reconciliation (Readiness to Reconcile Inventory, RRI).

Results: A higher symptom severity of PG was significantly associated with readiness to reconcile even when controlling for other relevant variables (β = -0.22; p <.001). Persons who met caseness criteria for PG were significantly less ready to reconcile, t(773) = 5.47, p <.001, than persons who did not meet caseness for PG.

Conclusion: PG seems to be a relevant mental health correlate of attitudes toward reconciliation. The results of the current study underline the importance of also considering PG with regard to the reconciliation process in Cambodia and possibly also in other post-conflict regions.
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July 2020

Same same but different? DSM-5 versus ICD-11 PTSD among traumatized refugees in Germany.

J Psychosom Res 2020 07 5;134:110129. Epub 2020 May 5.

Freie University Berlin, Department of Clinical-Psychological Intervention, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Germany; Center UEBERLEBEN gGmbH, Turmstr. 21, 10559 Berlin, Germany.

Objective: The recent changes in diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the 5th edition of the DSM and the 11th edition of the ICD marked a shift towards two perspectives on the same disorder. Previous studies indicate lower prevalence rates for the ICD-11-model as compared to the DSM-5 model. Main purpose of this study is to examine the concordance between ICD-11 and DSM-5 PTSD rates, and to assess the overlap of the two PTSD definitions with anxiety and depression among refugees.

Methods: 167 traumatized refugees were assessed with the PCL-5 for the DSM-5 PTSD model. A subset of the items was used as criteria for the ICD-11 model. Depression and anxiety were measured with the HSCL-25.

Results: The DSM-5-algorithm for PTSD identified significantly more cases (n = 147; 88%) than the ICD-11 algorithm (80%; n = 134). Level of agreement between the diagnostic systems was substantial (Κ = 0.67, p < .001) and 9% (n = 15) met criteria under one diagnostic system only. Overlap with depression and anxiety was high under both diagnostic systems.

Conclusion: PTSD rates indicated a highly distressed sample of survivors of war and trauma. Our data provide further evidence that the DSM-5 diagnoses a larger number of persons than the ICD-11. Although the level of agreement was substantial, the observed discrepancies represent a challenge for research and practice to reliably identify individuals with PTSD. Especially for refugees, this might affect their access to mental health care and appropriate treatment during an asylum procedure.
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July 2020

Should I stay or must I go? Predictors of dropout in an internet-based psychotherapy programme for posttraumatic stress disorder in Arabic.

Eur J Psychotraumatol 2020 23;11(1):1706297. Epub 2020 Jan 23.

Center Überleben gGmbH, Berlin, Germany.

: Dropout from psychotherapy has negative impacts on clients, therapists, and health-care agencies. Research has identified a variety of variables as predictors of dropout, which can be grouped in three domains: socio-demographic, psychological, and treatment-related variables. : In order to further clarify the question of predictors of dropout, an exploratory research design was applied to a large sample, testing 25 different variables from the three domains as possible predictors. : The sample included 386 adults who started an internet-based cognitive-behavioural treatment approach for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Arabic. As the participants had different countries of origin and of current residence, multilevel analyses were performed. For the selection of predictor variables, the Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator was used. : Dropout rates did not vary significantly between participants from different countries of origin or from different countries of residence. Likewise, dropout did not vary significantly between clusters of individuals with the same country of origin and the same country of residence, i.e. the same migration path. Three of the 25 variables were identified as significant predictors for dropout: marital status (divorced participants' probability to drop out was higher compared to non-divorced, i.e. single, married, or widowed, clients), treatment credibility scores (higher dropout probability of participants with lower treatment credibility), and the participants' year of registration for the treatment (earlier years of registration predicted lower dropout probability). The overall ability of the three-factor-model to discriminate between dropout and completion was poor (AUC = 0.652, with low sensitivity and acceptable specificity). : The predictors belong to the treatment-related domain (credibility, year of registration) or are specific to the target group (marital status). However, the results show that predicting treatment dropout continues to be a very challenging endeavour and indicate that it is important to look at each intervention individually.
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January 2020

Multidisciplinary treatment for traumatized refugees in a naturalistic setting: symptom courses and predictors.

Eur J Psychotraumatol 2017 10;8(sup2):1377552. Epub 2017 Oct 10.

Center Überleben gGmbH (former Center for Torture Victims), Berlin, Germany.

: Multidisciplinary treatment approaches are commonly used in specialized psychosocial centres for the treatment of traumatized refugees, but empirical evidence for their efficacy is inconsistent. : In order to obtain more evidence on the development of mental health and well-being of traumatized refugees who receive multidisciplinary treatment, symptom courses of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and somatoform symptoms as well as in the subjective quality of life were investigated in the course of a multidisciplinary treatment. In addition, it was analysed if sociodemographic variables were predictors for possible changes in symptomatology and quality of life. :  = 76 patients of the outpatient clinic of a psychosocial centre for traumatized refugees receiving regular multidisciplinary treatment were surveyed using standardized questionnaires at three measurement points (at the beginning of treatment, and after an average of 7 and 14 months of treatment) in a single-group design. : Multilevel analysis showed significant improvements of symptoms of PTSD (.001), depression (.001), anxiety (.001), and somatoform symptoms (002) as well as of the subjective quality of life (.001) over time. Among the tested predictors (gender, age, country of origin), age was a significant predictor for the course of somatoform symptoms (< .05). Younger patients showed greater improvements in symptomatology over time than older ones. : The results suggest that the received multidisciplinary treatment had a positive effect on trauma-related symptoms as well as on quality of life of traumatized refugees. There was no indication that sociodemographic characteristics predicted the symptom courses of the patients, except for somatoform symptoms. Younger patients benefitted more from multidisciplinary treatment than older ones.
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October 2017

Traumatized refugees: identifying needs and facing challenges for mental health care.

Eur J Psychotraumatol 2017 7;8(sup2):1388103. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

European Journal of Psychotraumatology, Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam.

In the past few years the number of refugees worldwide has increased dramatically. Many of them were traumatized in their homelands due to violent conflict or persecution, as well as during their flight, and are confronted with ongoing stressors in the exile countries. In order to contribute to enhancing the clinical knowledge, this special issue of the focuses on traumatized refugees. It includes three review articles as well as four original articles on the mental health burden, screening instruments and interventions in different groups of refugees. The articles published in this special issue focus on important aspects of better understanding the needs of traumatized refugees, as well as on identifying and offering appropriate mental health care for this population. Future research recommendations are provided in the hope to contribute to improving mental health care strategies of this still underserved population.
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November 2017

Transgenerational trauma in a post-conflict setting: Effects on offspring PTSS/PTSD and offspring vulnerability in Cambodian families.

Psychiatry Res 2017 08 21;254:151-157. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Department of Clinical Psychological Intervention, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany.

We assessed transgenerational effects of maternal traumatic exposure, posttraumatic stress symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder on trauma-related symptoms in Cambodian offspring born after the genocidal Khmer Rouge Regime. We conducted a randomized cross-sectional study. N=378 mothers from 4 provinces of the country and one of each of their grown-up children were interviewed. Lifetime traumatic exposure was determined using a context-adapted event list. Present posttraumatic stress symptoms and a potential posttraumatic stress disorder were assessed using the civilian version of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist. We found no indication of transgenerational effects that were directly related to maternal traumatic exposure, posttraumatic stress symptoms or posttraumatic stress disorder. Instead, a gender-specific moderating effect was found. Individual traumatic exposure had a stronger effect on posttraumatic stress symptoms in daughters, the higher the mother's lifetime traumatic exposure. There is evidence of an interaction between lifetime traumatic exposure of mothers and their offspring that can be interpreted as an increased vulnerability to symptoms of posttraumatic stress in daughters. The mechanisms of transgenerational trauma in the Cambodian context require further research, as learning from previous conflicts will be instructive when addressing the pressing humanitarian needs of today's world.
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August 2017

Conflict-related trauma and bereavement: exploring differential symptom profiles of prolonged grief and posttraumatic stress disorder.

BMC Psychiatry 2017 03 29;17(1):118. Epub 2017 Mar 29.

Department of Clinical-Psychological Intervention, Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195, Berlin, Germany.

Background: Exposure to trauma and bereavement is common in conflict-affected regions. Previous research suggests considerable heterogeneity in responses to trauma and loss with varying symptom representations. The purpose of the current study was to (1) identify classes of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom profiles among individuals who were exposed to both trauma and loss due to the Colombian armed conflict and (2) to examine whether sociodemographic, loss and trauma-related characteristics could predict class membership.

Methods: Three hundred eight victims of internal displacement who had experienced trauma and loss were assessed through measures of PGD (PG-13), PTSD (PCL-C), and social support (DUKE-UNC). Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed to analyze differential profiles by symptoms of PGD and PTSD and multinomial logistic regression was used to analyze predictors of class membership.

Results: LCA revealed a four-class solution: a resilient class (23.6%), a PTSD-class (23.3%), a predominately PGD class (25.3%) and a high distress-class with overall high values of PGD and PTSD (27.8%). Relative to the resilient class, membership to the PGD class was predicted by the loss of a close family member and the exposure to a higher number of assaultive traumatic events, whereas membership to the PTSD class was predicted by the perception of less social support. Compared to the resilient class, participants in the high distress-class were more likely to be female, to have lost a close relative, experienced more accidental and assaultive traumatic events, and perceived less social support.

Discussion: Specific symptom profiles emerged following exposure to trauma and loss within the context of the Colombian armed conflict. Profiles were associated with distinct types of traumatic experiences, the degree of closeness to the person lost, the amount of social support perceived, and gender. The results have implications for identifying distressed subgroups and informing interventions in accordance with the patient's symptom profile.
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March 2017

Applicability of the ICD-11 proposal for PTSD: a comparison of prevalence and comorbidity rates with the DSM-IV PTSD classification in two post-conflict samples.

Eur J Psychotraumatol 2015 18;6:27070. Epub 2015 May 18.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Background: The World Health Organization recently proposed significant changes to the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnostic criteria in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

Objective: The present study investigated the impact of these changes in two different post-conflict samples.

Method: Prevalence and rates of concurrent depression and anxiety, socio-demographic characteristics, and indicators of clinical severity according to ICD-11 in 1,075 Cambodian and 453 Colombian civilians exposed to civil war and genocide were compared to those according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).

Results: Results indicated significantly lower prevalence rates under the ICD-11 proposal (8.1% Cambodian sample and 44.4% Colombian sample) compared to the DSM-IV (11.2% Cambodian sample and 55.0% Colombian sample). Participants meeting a PTSD diagnosis only under the ICD-11 proposal had significantly lower rates of concurrent depression and a lower concurrent total score (depression and anxiety) compared to participants meeting only DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. There were no significant differences in socio-demographic characteristics and indicators of clinical severity between these two groups.

Conclusions: The lower prevalence of PTSD according to the ICD-11 proposal in our samples of persons exposed to a high number of traumatic events may counter criticism of previous PTSD classifications to overuse the PTSD diagnosis in populations exposed to extreme stressors. Also another goal, to better distinguish PTSD from comorbid disorders could be supported with our data.
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May 2015

When hope and grief intersect: rates and risks of prolonged grief disorder among bereaved individuals and relatives of disappeared persons in Colombia.

J Affect Disord 2015 Mar 29;173:59-64. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

Berlin Center for Torture Victims, Germany; Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Free University of Berlin, Germany.

Background: Forced disappearance is a frequent phenomenon in violent conflicts and regimes, yet little is known about unresolved grief processes as a possible outcome of the disappearance of a loved one. This study investigates prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and its risk factors in a sample of persons who lost a significant other to disappearance as compared with a sample of bereaved individuals, both groups having experienced displacement due to the armed conflict in Colombia.

Method: In a cross-sectional study conducted in four Colombian provinces, 73 persons who lost a significant other to disappearance and 222 bereaved individuals completed measures of PGD (PG-13), depression (HSCL-25), and PTSD (PCL-C) via face-to-face interviews. Trauma- and loss-related variables, including the extent to which significant others of disappeared persons hoped that their loved one was still alive, were assessed.

Results: Results indicated that 23% of participants who lost a significant other to disappearance met criteria for PGD as compared to 31.5% in bereaved participants. No differences were found between the two groups in terms of symptom severity of PGD, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, or traumatic exposure. Regression analysis indicated that, among relatives and friends of disappeared persons, the extent of hope predicted PGD above and beyond depression severity whereas among bereaved persons, PGD was predicted by time since the loss, the number of traumatic events and symptom severity of PTSD and depression.

Limitations: The instruments were not validated for use in Colombia; generalizability of findings is limited.

Conclusion: Forced disappearance is related to prolonged grief reactions, particularly when those left behind maintain hope that the disappeared person is still alive.
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March 2015

Construction of a questionnaire for readiness to reconcile in victims of human rights violations.

Eur J Psychotraumatol 2012 9;3. Epub 2012 Apr 9.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Free University Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Berlin Center for Torture Victims, Berlin, Germany.

Background: Post-conflict reconciliation is supposed to have a positive impact on survivors of war and conflict. However, knowledge is limited as validated questionnaires to assess individual readiness to reconcile in the context of human rights violations are still missing.

Objectives: This study aimed to develop and pilot-test a questionnaire to assess individual readiness to reconcile in victims of human rights violations.

Methods: The questionnaire was developed and pilot-tested in a sample of 60 adult Kurdish refugees from Turkey. In addition to the questionnaire, trauma exposure, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, perceived emotional closeness to the Kurdish people as well as the participants' ability to differentiate between perpetrators and the people in general were assessed in structured interviews, and their associations with readiness to reconcile were analyzed.

Results: Factor and item analysis resulted in an 18-item questionnaire with three subscales (openness to interactions; absence of feelings of revenge; openness to conflict resolution). Cronbach's α for the subscales ranged from 0.74 to 0.90, explaining 61% of the total variance. The ability to differentiate between perpetrators and people in general and perceived emotional closeness were the best predictors for readiness to reconcile. The level of trauma exposure was not linked to readiness to reconcile. Although readiness to reconcile was negatively related to PTSD, depression and anxiety, none of these associations reached statistical significance.

Conclusions: The questionnaire appears to be a reliable measure with good psychometric properties. Further validations in different samples are needed.
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August 2012

Prolonged grief disorder three decades post loss in survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

J Affect Disord 2013 Jan 4;144(1-2):87-93. Epub 2012 Aug 4.

Berlin Center for Torture Victims, Turmstr. 21, 10559 Berlin, Germany.

Background: During the Khmer Rouge (KR) regime from 1975 to 1979 millions of Cambodians were confronted with the death or murder of family members. The long-term psychological consequences of these traumatic losses have not yet been investigated. The purpose of this study was to determine the rate and potential predictors of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) in survivors of the KR regime.

Method: The Inventory of Complicated Grief-Revised (ICG-R) was administered in a sample of N=775 Cambodians in face-to-face interviews who had lost at least one family member during the KR regime. Symptoms of PTSD were assessed with the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version and symptoms of depression and anxiety with the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25.

Results: The prevalence of PGD in the sample was 14.3%. PGD was moderately associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD. The loss of a spouse, a child, or a parent was associated with higher symptom severity of PGD than was the loss of a sibling or distant relatives. PGD was predicted by the relationship to the deceased and symptoms of depression and PTSD.

Limitations: Limitations of the study include the non-random sampling recruitment. The ICG-R has not been validated for use in Cambodia.

Conclusions: The vast majority of Cambodians lost family members during the KR regime. Even three decades later, PGD was prevalent in a substantial proportion of the present sample and related to other psychiatric disorders. The results underline the importance of examining PGD in studies of war-related psychological impairment.
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January 2013

Reconciliation in Cambodia: thirty years after the terror of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Torture 2011 ;21(2):71-83

Treatment Center for Torture Victims, and Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

During the Khmer Rouge regime one quarter of the Cambodian population was killed as a result of malnutrition, overwork and mass killings. Although the regime ended 30 years ago, its legacy continues to affect Cambodians. Mental health problems as well as feelings of anger and revenge resulting from traumatic events experienced during the Khmer Rouge regime are still common in Cambodia. These conditions continue to impede social coexistence and the peace-building process in society. Thirty years after the Khmer Rouge regime this article gives an overview on the status of the country's current reconciliation process and recommends potential future steps.
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October 2011