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Dyadic online intervention for PTSD after severe sepsis

A severe sepsis is a life-threatening event. Subsequently, about 70 percent of the patients suffer from clinically significant symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To witness a sepsis can be traumatic for the patients' partners, too. Up to 62 percent of the partners suffer from PTSD symptoms as well (Jaenichen, Brunkhorst, Strauß & Rosendahl, 2012; Rosendahl, Brunkhorst, Jaenichen & Strauß, 2013).

However, the majority of those affected do not receive any psychotherapeutic treatment (Rosendahl et al., 2013; Wintermann et al., 2015). The efficacy of online therapy in PTSD is well documented but has not yet been studied in patients after severe sepsis and their life partners (Küster, Niemeyer & Knaevelsrud, 2016). There is also a need for research on the effects of online therapy on the partner in the couple dyad and the influence of dyadic coping on the treatment effects.

Based on the preliminary work of our working group, 98 couples in whom one or both partners suffer from clinically significant symptoms of a PTSD should be treated in a randomized intervention study for ten individual sessions and a partner intervention with an internet-based psychotherapy. A detailed process and final evaluation is carried out to examine the effectiveness and the relevant mechanisms of change for both partners.


Goals of the project

  1. review the efficacy and applicability of an internet-based therapy of PTSD in patients who have experienced severe sepsis, as well as their partners,
  2. the collection of the long-term effect of the therapy after 3, 6 and 12 months respectively,
  3. the study of dyadic concordance of therapy effects and
  4. the study of the influence of dyadic coping on the therapeutic effects.

In addition, further questions are examined exploratively.


Co-operation partner


Continuative literature

Jaenichen, D., Brunkhorst, F.M., Strauss, B., & Rosendahl, J. (2012). [Physical and mental long-term sequelae following intensive care of severe sepsis in patients and relatives]. Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik, medizinische Psychologie, 62, 335-343.

Küster, A, Niemeyer, H., & Knaevelsrud, C. (2016). Internet-based interventions for posttraumatic stress: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Psychological Review, 43, 1-16.

Rosendahl, J., Brunkhorst, F.M., Jaenichen, D., & Strauss, B. (2013) Physical and mental health in patients and spouses after intensive care of severe sepsis: a dyadic perspective on long-term sequelae testing the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. Critical Care Medicine 41, 69-75.

Wintermann, G.B., Weidner, K., Strauss, B., et al. (2016). Predictors of posttraumatic stress and quality of life in family members of chronically critically ill patients after intensive care. Ann Intensive Care, 6, 69.



If you are interested in the zwei leben online therapy studies, you can directly contact our team:


You can also contact us through the contact form on the project website http://www.zweileben.net

Or by calling +49(0)3641-9 35482.


Projekt management

The study "Reducing post-traumatic stress after severe sepsis in patients and their spouses (REPAIR)" is conducted by PD Dr. Jenny Rosendahl (Institute of Psychosocial Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Jena) and Prof. Dr. Christine Knaevelsrud.