Psychological advocacy towards healing (PATH): A randomized controlled trial of a psychological intervention in a domestic violence service setting

Article


Ferrari, G., Feder, G., Agnew-Davies, R., Bailey, J. E., Hollinghurst, S., Howard, L., Howarth, E., Sardinha, L., Sharp, D. and Peters, T. J. 2018. Psychological advocacy towards healing (PATH): A randomized controlled trial of a psychological intervention in a domestic violence service setting. PLOS ONE. 13 (Art. 0205485). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205485
AuthorsFerrari, G., Feder, G., Agnew-Davies, R., Bailey, J. E., Hollinghurst, S., Howard, L., Howarth, E., Sardinha, L., Sharp, D. and Peters, T. J.
Abstract

Background

Experience of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is associated with mental illness. Advocacy has little effect on mental health outcomes of female DVA survivors and there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of psychological interventions for this population.

Objective

To test effectiveness of a psychological intervention delivered by advocates to DVA survivors.

Design, masking, setting, participants

Pragmatic parallel group individually randomized controlled trial of normal DVA advocacy vs. advocacy + psychological intervention. Statistician and researchers blinded to group assignment. Setting: specialist DVA agencies; two UK cities. Participants: Women aged 16 years and older accessing DVA services.

Intervention

Eight specialist psychological advocacy (SPA) sessions with two follow up sessions.

Measurements

Primary outcomes at 12 months: depression symptoms (PHQ-9) and psychological distress (CORE-OM). Primary analysis: intention to treat linear (logistic) regression model for continuous (binary) outcomes.

Results

263 women recruited (78 in shelter/refuge, 185 in community), 2 withdrew (1 community, control group; 1 intervention, refuge group), 1 was excluded from the study for protocol violation (community, control group), 130 in intervention and 130 in control groups. Recruitment ended June 2013. 12-month follow up: 64%. At 12-month follow up greater improvement in mental health of women in the intervention group. Difference in average CORE-OM score between intervention and control groups: -3.3 points (95% CI -5.5 to -1.2). Difference in average PHQ-9 score between intervention and control group: -2.2 (95% CI -4.1 to -0.3). At 12 months, 35% of the intervention group and 55% of the control group were above the CORE-OM -2clinical threshold (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.64); 29% of the intervention group and 46% of the control group were above the PHQ-9 clinical threshold (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.81).

Limitations

64% retention at 12 months

Conclusions

An eight-session psychological intervention delivered by DVA advocates produced clinically relevant improvement in mental health outcomes compared with normal advocacy care.

Trial registration

ISRCTN registry ISRCTN58561170
Original Research
3675/3750

JournalPLOS ONE
Journal citation13 (Art. 0205485)
ISSN1932-6203
Year2018
PublisherPublic Library of Science
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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205485
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205485
Publication dates
Online27 Nov 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted28 Aug 2018
Deposited06 May 2020
FunderNational Institute for Health Research
Copyright holder© 2018 The Authors
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