Personality Traits and Symptom Reduction in a Group Treatment for Women with Histories of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Nancy L. Talbot, Paul R. Duberstein, Jessica S. Butzel, Christopher Cox, Donna E. Giles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The influence of personality on symptom reduction has not been examined in research on treatments for women with childhood sexual abuse histories, although personality has demonstrated predictive value in other treatment contexts. This study examined personality variables associated with symptom reduction in group therapy for hospitalized women with histories of sexual abuse. Personality was measured with the NEO-Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), which yields scores on neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Among 86 women who participated in either the Women's Safety in Recovery (WSIR) group therapy or treatment as usual, 43 completed assessments of symptom reduction at discharge and 6-month follow-up. We hypothesized that extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience would be associated with treatment outcome. Our results showed that agreeableness and extraversion moderated the effect of treatment on symptom reduction. WSIR participants who were less agreeable improved more at discharge and 6-month follow-up than more agreeable WSIR participants. Moreover, women in the WSIR group who were more introverted showed greater symptom improvement at discharge than more extraverted women. Our findings suggest that more introverted, less agreeable patients with sexual abuse histories may indeed benefit from structured group treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-453
Number of pages6
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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