Perceived Barriers and Preliminary PTSD Outcomes in an Open Pilot Trial of Written Exposure Therapy With Latinx Immigrants

Arthur R. Andrews, Laura M. Acosta, M. Natalia Acosta Canchila, James K. Haws, Kathryn J. Holland, Natalie R. Holt, Allura L. Ralston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Latinx immigrants experience substantial disparities in mental health treatment access, particularly for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The availability of brief, flexible interventions in Spanish may assist in reducing these disparities. Written Exposure Therapy (WET) is a five-session PTSD intervention that appears as effective as longer, gold-standard interventions, but has yet to be tested among Latinx immigrants. To test the acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of WET, 20 Spanish-speaking, Latinx immigrants conducted structured interviews at pretreatment, were offered WET, and completed posttreatment structured interviews. Open thematic coding of pre- and posttreatment interview questions examined perceived barriers and benefits of WET. Quantitative components examined symptom change across PTSD (PCL-IV-C) and depression (PHQ-9). Quantitative results indicated clinically meaningful and statistically significant change in PTSD symptoms using intent-to-treat analyses (Mdiff = 17.06, SDdiff = 9.97, range = 0–29, t(15) = 6.84, p < .001). Open thematic coding identified four barrier-related themes and three benefit-related themes at pretreatment. At posttreatment, three barrier-related themes and two benefit-related themes were identified. Qualitative results largely suggested that perceived barriers were common to other PTSD interventions (e.g., exposure components). Only one participant identified barriers specific to WET. Results suggested WET may reduce PTSD symptoms among Latinx immigrants. WET also appeared to be acceptable and primarily viewed as beneficial among this population. WET is a promising intervention with Latinx immigrants and warrants further testing larger trials, including testing implementation strategies that may improve access to care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-665
Number of pages18
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Latinx immigrants
  • PTSD treatment
  • mixed-methods
  • written exposure therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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