Comparative effectiveness of psychotherapies in adults with posttraumatic stress disorder: a network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Ninik Yunitri, Hsin Chu, Xiao Linda Kang, Bayu Satria Wiratama, Tso Ying Lee, Li Fang Chang, Doresses Liu, Christina Yeni Kustanti, Kai Jo Chiang, Ruey Chen, Philip Tseng, Kuei Ru Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background Evidence on the long-term comparative effectiveness of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) psychotherapies in adults remains unknown. Therefore, we performed an extensive network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to determine the comparative effectiveness of psychotherapies for people diagnosed with PTSD. Methods A comprehensive search was conducted in Cochrane library, Embase, Medline-OVID, PubMed, Scopus, and Psych-Info until March 2021. Studies on the effectiveness of cognitive processing therapy (CPT), cognitive therapy (CT), eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR), narrative exposure therapy (NET), prolonged exposure (PE), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), present-centred therapy (PCT), brief eclectic psychotherapies (BEP), psychodynamic therapy (PDT) or combination therapies compared to no treatment (NT) or treatment as usual (TAU) in adults with PTSD were included. Frequentist and Bayesian approaches were used for analysis in R-software. Results We included 98 RCTs with 5567 participants from 18 897 studies. CPT, EMDR, CT, NET, PE, CBT, and PCT were significant to reduce PTSD symptoms (SMD range: -1.53 to -0.75; Certainty: very low to high) at immediate post-treatment and ranked accordingly. Longitudinal analysis found EMDR (1.02) and CPT (0.85) as the significant therapies with large effect size in short-term and long-term follow-up, respectively. NET and CPT showed higher proportion of loss of PTSD diagnosis (RR range: 5.51-3.45) while there were no significant psychotherapies for retention rate compared to NT. Conclusions: Our findings provide evidence for improving current guidelines and informing clinical decision-making for PTSD management. However, the best PTSD treatment plan should be tailored to patients' needs, characteristics, and clinician expertise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6376-6388
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Oct 11 2023


  • Effectiveness
  • network meta-analysis
  • psychotherapies
  • PTSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative effectiveness of psychotherapies in adults with posttraumatic stress disorder: a network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this