Exposure therapy for PTSD delivered to veterans via telehealth: predictors of treatment completion and outcome and comparison to treatment delivered in person.

Mental Health Service 116, Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center, Charleston, SC 29401, USA.
Behavior therapy (Impact Factor: 2.85). 06/2011; 42(2):276-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.beth.2010.07.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent research has focused on the effectiveness of evidence-based psychotherapy delivered via telehealth services. Unfortunately to date, the majority of studies employ very small samples and limited predictor and moderator variables. To address these concerns and further replicate and extend the literature on telehealth, the present study investigated the effectiveness of 12-session exposure therapy delivered either via telehealth (n=62) or in person (n=27) in veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Findings demonstrated that although older veterans and Vietnam veterans were more likely to complete the telehealth treatment, telehealth findings were not influenced by patient age, sex, race, combat theater, or disability status. Exposure therapy delivered via telehealth was effective in reducing the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, and general impairment with large effect sizes. Interestingly, exposure therapy via telehealth was less effective than exposure therapy delivered in person; however, lack of random assignment to condition limits conclusions of differential effectiveness. Overall, these findings support the utility of telehealth services to provide effective, evidence-based psychotherapies.

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