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Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and trauma-informed care in higher levels of care for eating disorders

By Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED

Rienecke, R. D., Blalock, D. V., Duffy, A., Manwaring, J., Le Grange, D., Johnson, C., Mehler, P. S., & McClanahan, S. F. (2021). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and trauma-informed care in higher levels of care for eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 54, 627-632. 

This study examined the prevalence and trajectory of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among patients with eating disorders (EDs) at ERC.  Participants were 613 adults diagnosed with EDs receiving treatment at inpatient, residential, or partial hospitalization levels of care.  Participants completed the PTSD Checklist-5 (PCL-5) at admission and discharge.  Over half of patients scored above the cutoff of 33 on the PCL-5 at admission, suggestive of PTSD symptoms characteristic of a formal PTSD diagnosis.  Over the course of treatment, the average PCL-5 score significantly decreased for every ED diagnosis, and there was a significant reduction in the proportion of patients above the PCL-5 cutoff score at discharge.  Findings suggest that PTSD symptoms are prevalent among patients with EDs seeking higher levels of care, and that despite not offering evidence-based trauma-specific interventions, PTSD symptoms decreased over the course of treatment.

Written by

Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED

Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED, is a clinical psychologist and Director of Research for Eating Recovery Center/Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Centers and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of…
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Dan Blalock

Dan Blalock is a health services researcher in the Health Services Research & Development Center of Innovation at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Assistant Consulting Professor in the…
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Alan Duffy

Alan Duffy is Patient Experience & Research Manager at Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center in Denver, Colorado and a trained professional who specializes in the…
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Jamie Manwaring

Dr. Manwaring earned her doctorate in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she published peer-reviewed research in the field of eating and weight disorders. Since joining Eating…
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Daniel Le Grange, PhD, FAED

Daniel Le Grange, PhD, holds a Distinguished Professorship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he is Benioff UCSF Professor in Children’s Health in the Department of…
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Craig Johnson, PhD, CEDS, FAED

Dr. Johnson has been a leader in the field of Eating Disorders for over 40 years. Currently he is a Senior Consultant at ERC, where he previously held the positions of Chief Clinical Officer, Chief…
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Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Dr. Philip Mehler, prior to joining Eating Recovery Center, served as the Medical Director of Denver Health and Hospital Authority a position he held up until his retirement in 2014. Dr. Mehler began…
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Susan McClanahan, PhD, CEDS

Susan McClanahan, Ph.D., CEDS is the current Chairman of the ERC Pathlight Advisory Board and the Founder of Pathlight Behavioral Health Centers. Dr. McClanahan is a licensed clinical psychologist…

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