Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic effects of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) on post-traumatic growth (PTG). Methods: This study was conducted using a sample of ten survivors of a large-scale maritime disaster that occurred in the Yellow Sea, South Korea, in April 2014. A total of eight EMDR sessions were administered by a psychiatrist at two-week intervals over a period of five months, starting two or three months after the accident. Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), Stress-Related Growth Scale (SRGS), Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) were measured before treatment, after sessions 4 and 8, and at three months after treatment completion. Results: After three months from treatment completion, significant increases were observed in PTG (PTGI: Z(8)=-2.380, p=0.017; SRGS: Z(8)=-2.380, p=0.017) and resilience (CD-RISC: Z(8)=-2.386, p=0.017). A decrease in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) level was also significant (CAPS: Z(8)=-2.176, p=0.030). The reduction of CAPS scores was correlated with increases of PTGI (rho=0.78, p=0.023) and SRGS (rho=0.79, p=0.020) scores. The changes in CAPS, PTGI, and SRGS scores between time point of end 8-session and three months follow-up was not significant (all p>0.05). Subjects with higher pre-treatment CD-RISC scores showed more significant improvements in PTGI (rho=0.88, p=0.004) and SRGS (rho=0.83, p=0.010) scores after treatment than did those with lower pre-treatment CD-RISC scores. Conclusion: EMDR therapy using standard protocol for trauma processing helped facilitating PTG in disaster survivors. To generalize these findings, further controlled studies comparing with other treatment modalities for PTSD are needed.
- Eye movement desensitization reprocessing
- Post-traumatic growth
- Post-traumatic stress disorders