Predictors of response to cognitive-behavioral therapy in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder: a systematic review
ABSTRACT Objective Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a highly prevalent and disabling disorder. Even when treated with the first-line intervention, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), 45% of the patients continue suffering from this disorder. Therefore, knowing the factors that could foresee who will respond to CBT would be of great value to the treatment of these patients. Thus, we have systematically reviewed the literature to identify the variables that could predict response to CBT in patients suffering from PTSD. Methods Following the PRISMA 2020 guidelines, we searched the electronic databases ISI Web of Science, Scopus, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and PTSDpubs until November 2021. Two authors have independently conducted study selection and data extraction. Studies that examined possible predictors of response to therapy on a sample of adults (18-65 years), both genders, with and without comorbidities were considered eligible. The characteristics of the studies were synthesized in a table. The risk of bias was assessed by the Cochrane risk of bias quality assessment tool. Results Twenty-eight studies comprising 15 variables were selected. Among those, eight showed a low risk of bias, 19 showed some concerns, and one showed a high potential risk of bias. The therapeutic relationship was the only variable considered to be a predictor of a good response to therapy. All other variables showed conflicting results. Conclusions The most promising variable, although scientifically weak, is the therapeutic relationship. Additional randomized clinical trials should be conducted to clarify the role of this variable as a predictor of response to CBT in patients with PTSD.