PTSD at Late Life: Context and Treatment

Lee Hyer and Catherine A. Yeager

in The Oxford Handbook of Traumatic Stress Disorders

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195399066
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 PTSD at Late Life: Context and Treatment

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Our knowledge about the role of aging as a moderating or mediating influence on the expression of posttraumatic symptoms, and their remission and resolution, is nascent. This is reflected in the current state of empirically supported psychotherapies for older adults with PTSD. At this time, there are no empirically validated psychotherapeutic or psychopharmacologic treatments for this age group. This chapter highlights general issues and other factors unique to aging, such as changes in cognition, that must be taken into consideration when embarking on PTSD treatment with older adults. We review extant psychotherapy research that has applicability to this cohort: treatment studies on anxiety and depression for older adults, as well as treatment studies for younger adults with PTSD. Next, we describe promising PTSD interventions for older adults that have yet to be tested on large samples or in randomized controlled trials. The chapter culminates in the presentation of a multi-modal psychotherapy intervention designed to address factors unique to aging, and which involves a gentler version of trauma-related therapy that allows exposure to be optional.

Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder; aging; psychotherapy research; cognitive behavioral therapy; cognition; memory; exposure therapy; trauma-related therapy

Article.  9817 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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