Latest journal articles from Phoenix Australia

Forbes, D., Nickerson, A., Alkemade, N., Bryant, R. A., Creamer, M., Silove, D., … O’Donnell, M. (2015). Longitudinal analysis of latent classes of psychopathology and patterns of class migration in survivors of severe injury. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 9(76), 7. doi: 10.4088/JCP.14m09075

This study assessed clusters of individuals based on their psychopathology after trauma, in both the acute aftermath and long term (up to six years).  We found a consistent pattern of four groups (No Disorder; Alcohol & Depression; Alcohol Alone; and, PTSD/Depression/Anxiety). We assessed how individuals moved between these groups over time, and found little movement in the No Disorder group, but higher levels of movement in the other groups, indicating a complex pattern of psychopathology expression over time.


Forbes, D., Alkemade, N., Nickerson, A., Bryant, R. A., Creamer, M., Silove, D., … O’Donnell, M. L. (in press). Prediction of late onset psychiatric disorder in survivors of severe injury: Findings of a latent transition analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

This follow-up to the previous study was designed to identify what may predict that an individual would move from the No Disorder group into one of the three psychopathology-based groups. We found that the predictors differed across the three groups and by duration after injury. However, the findings did suggest that social support, pain, injury severity and pre-injury psychiatric history may be helpful to include in targeted follow-up assessments to identify individuals at increased risk of movement into a disorder group.


Metcalf, O., Varker, T., Forbes D., Phelps, A., Dell, L., Di Battista A., … O’Donnell, M. (in press). Efficacy of fifteen emerging interventions for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: A systematic review. Journal of Traumatic Stress.

There are many new interventions for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but their efficacy remains unknown. We systematically reviewed 15 emerging interventions used to treat PTSD in a study due to be published in Journal of Traumatic Stress. We graded each intervention based on the quality of the evidence, and the majority of interventions received low grades, reflecting a lack of empirical support for their use in PTSD. However, four interventions (acupuncture, emotional freedom technique, mantra-based meditation and yoga) had moderate quality evidence, indicating a promising approach to the treatment of PTSD.


O’Donnell, M., Alkemade, N., Creamer, M., Silove, D., McFarlane, A., Bryant, R., & Forbes, D. (in press). The long term psychiatric sequelae of severe injury: A six year follow-up study. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

This study has two aims: 1) assess psychiatric outcomes six years after a severe injury and their impact on long-term disability; 2) investigate the relationship between a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and long-term psychiatric disorder and its impact on disability. At six years after a severe injury the prevalence rates of psychiatric disorder were depression (11%), substance use disorder (9%), agoraphobia (9%), PTSD (6%), and generalised anxiety disorder (6%). The presence of any psychiatric disorder increased the risk for disability. An mTBI was found to increase the risk for having some anxiety disorders but not for disability alone.


Trethowan, V., & Nursey, J. (in press). Helping children recover from disaster: A review of teacher based support programs in Victorian Schools. Australian Journal of Emergency Management.

Teachers are critically important in helping children to recover from a disaster or significant trauma. A two-phased online training program was implemented in Victorian schools following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires to build teacher capacity and confidence in providing evidence-informed, classroom-based support to children affected by disaster. Psychological First Aid and Mental Health First Aid for Teachers, and Skills for Psychological Recovery for Teachers, guide teachers in how to provide emotional support, a safe classroom environment, and help students improve their coping skills. Both programs have potential applicability to education departments around Australia.


Varker, T., Forbes, D., Dell, L., Weston, A., Merlin, T., Hodson, S., & O’Donnell, M. L. (2015). Rapid evidence assessment: Increasing the transparency of an emerging methodology. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jep.12405

Within the field of evidence-based practice, policy makers, health care professionals and consumers require timely reviews to inform decisions on effective health care and treatments. Rapid evidence assessment (REA) has emerged in recent years as a literature review methodology that fulfils this need. This article discusses the lack of transparency and limited critical appraisal that can occur in REA, and proposes general principles for conducting an REA. The approach that we describe is consistent with the principles underlying systematic review methodology, but also makes allowances for the rapid delivery of information as required, while utilising explicit and reproducible methods at each stage.