Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz

Post-traumatic stress disorder

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

Posttraumatic stress disorder in adults associated with childhood violence and abuse: improving understanding and treatment.

The experience of emotional, physical or sexualized violence, in connection with neglect and abuse in childhood and adolescence, is associated with numerous health, psychological, and neurobiological consequences. One possible consequence is the development of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. The aim of ENHANCE is to expand the understanding of PTSD associated with childhood trauma on a psycho-biological level and to investigate the mode of action of psychotherapeutic treatment measures. This should lead to an improved response to psychotherapy and ultimately to a reduction in stress and an increase in quality of life for those affected.

Inclusion criteria:

  • Age 18-65 years
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder associated with child abuse (in the form of physical and/or sexual violence) by a caregiver or authority figure before the age of 18

Exclusion criteria:

  • Acute substance dependence
  • Psychotic disorder
  • Dissociative identity disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder


Study website

START (Stress-Trauma Symptoms-Arousal-Regulation-Treatment) - Evaluation of a program for the initial stabilization of traumatized refugee minors: Module Adolescence and Young Adulthood

"FLUCHT-021 START-Consortium: "Projekt A3 Junge Erwachsene“ evaluates an adapted behavioral therapeutic group treatment for refugees with severe deficits in emotional regulation and coping strategies for everyday life in the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. In the feasibility study, traumatic distress is to be reduced and the proportion of adaptive stress management strategies increased. The program includes elements of psychoeducation, mindfulness, stress and emotional regulation. Furthermore, cognitive elements of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (Tf-KBT), nightmare therapy and biofeedback training are used. The latter is intended to reduce stress by inducing a relaxation reaction through the simultaneous visualization of a safe place. In addition, an existing gap in mental health care is be closed and empirical knowledge about the mental health of the refugee population is be generated.

Inclusion criteria:

  • Age: 18 - 25 years
  • Male and female refugees with PTSD and/or DESNOS (determined by SKID interview; PTSD/ DESNOS criteria according to DSM-V)
  • Non-verbal IQ ≥ 85
  • German or English (English level at least A1/A2 GER = Common European Reference frame for Languages)

Exclusion criteria:

  • Current alcohol/substance use disorder
  • Primary psychiatric conditions other than PTSD and/or DESNOS
  • Acute suicidal tendency (clinical interview)
  • Current psychotherapy
  • Serious medical diseases
  • Unstable psychotropic medication (change/ discontinuation of medication within the last 2 weeks)


Study website

For further information, please contact our site staff:

Dr. Mareike Ernst, Telephone number: 06131-17-7649,


get in touch with us via our general e-mail address:

University Medical Center Mainz
Study Center for Clinical Trials in Mental Disorders
Untere Zahlbacher Str. 8
55131 Mainz