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Restorative Retelling for Violent Death: An Investigation of Treatment Effectiveness, Influencing Factors, and Durability

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Many adults who have lost a loved one to violent death suffer from depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and complicated grief. Limited research has examined structured group interventions for violent death survivors or characteristics (e.g., types of loss, quality and type of relationship with the deceased) that may impact response to intervention. This records review of 91 survivors examined the effectiveness of Restorative Retelling (RR), a brief structured group intervention for violent loss survivors. Participants completed depression, PTSD, and complicated grief measures at pre- and post-treatment and at 1-year follow-up for a subset of participants. Findings revealed statistically significant changes in depression and PTSD symptoms (Cohen's d values ranged from .33–.46) at post-treatment, with significant changes observed across all domains at 1-year follow-up. Treatment response appeared to be influenced by high distress, gender, and relationship with the deceased. Results imply a large-scale randomized control trial to determine treatment efficacy.
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Keywords: PTSD; bereavement intervention; depression; restorative retelling; violent death

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA 2: Separation and Loss Services, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA

Publication date: November 2, 2015

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