Prolonged exposure therapy for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: An examination of treatment effectiveness for veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Journal of anxiety disorders (Impact Factor: 2.68). 11/2010; 25(3):397-403. DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.11.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Veteran's Health Administration (VHA) has launched a large-scale initiative to promote prolonged exposure (PE) therapy, an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. While existing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) unambiguously support the efficacy of PE in civilian and some military populations, there is a need to better understand the course of treatment for combat Veterans of the current wars receiving PE in normative mental healthcare settings. The current study investigates 65 Veterans receiving care at an urban VA medical center. All Veterans were diagnosed with PTSD via a structured interview and treated with PE. Measures of PTSD and depression were collected pre- and post-treatment and every two sessions during treatment. Dependent means t-tests were used to estimate pre- and post-treatment d-type effect sizes. Additionally, hierarchical linear models (HLM) were used to investigate treatment effects over time, relationships between patient characteristics and outcomes, and to provide estimates of R(2)-type effect sizes. Results indicate that PE in regular VA mental healthcare contexts can be as effective as when implemented in carefully conducted RCTs.

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