31 January, 2012
A paper is now in preparation for the first of two randomised controlled trials conducted in Baghdad that evaluated the efficacy of Writing for Recovery with adolescents who have lived through a lifetime of violence.
Across three days, 192 secondary students from one of the worst conflict affected areas of the city were randomised to either follow the structured, guided writing exercises in the Writing for Recovery manual or to write generally about a neutral topic. Although adolescents receiving both conditions showed improvements in terms of reduced posttraumatic stress and anxiety levels, these levels were reduced significantly further at the three-month follow-up for students in the Writing for Recovery condition.
The project was led by Tori Snell, a clinical psychology trainee from the University of Leicester who
worked with Numan Ali (FRCPsych), consultant psychiatrist and head of department at the Baghdad
Teaching Hospital and a team of trained volunteers. Scientific evaluation of the intervention was
supported by Professor Michael Wang, clinical course director in the School of Psychology at the
University of Leicester and Dr Marilyn Christie from the same department.
A second study, led by Dr Ali working with Tori Snell, has evaluated the intervention using cortisol
salivary sampling as an objective measure over a 12-month follow-up period with a similar
population of adolescents in Baghdad. The data for this study are currently being analysed. A paper
reporting results from the pilot study will be published in the May 2012 edition of the Journal of