Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz

ENHANCE- Enhancing understanding and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder related to child maltreatment (PTSD-CM)


Principal investigator Mainz

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med Manfred E. Beutel

Project team

M.Sc. (Psych.) Lina Krakau (Research assistant)
B.Sc. (Psych.) Anouk Olivia Bonay (Student assistant)

Research topic

Being exposed to emotional, physical or sexual maltreatment during childhood and adolescence, is associated with numerous psychological and (neuro)biological health consequences later in life. One possible outcome is the development of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD].

ENHANCE aims to broaden the understanding of PTSD associated with childhood maltreatment on a psycho-biological level and to investigate the effectiveness of two trauma-focused psychotherapies. Through our investigation we want to promote treatment response and increase stress reduction and quality of life of those affected.

The multi-center randomized controlled trial is conducted in various cities throughout Germany, led by Prof. Falk Leichsenring, University Hospital Gießen; Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy. In Mainz we cooperate with Prof. Michael Witthoeft, University Mainz, Department of Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy and Experimental Psychopathology.

The two evaluated psychotherapeutic treatments are trauma-focused psychodynamic therapy and STAIR/exposure cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic therapy both belong to the so called therapeutic guideline procedures (Richtlinienverfahten) in Germany. An evaluation and an improved understanding of their effectiveness is therefore of high practical relevance. In addition to the reduction of post-traumatic stress symptoms, potential neurophysiological changes and mentalization processes will be analyzed.

Duration: 2019-2023

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research