2012 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract
1005 — Increasing Treatment Seeking among Returning Veterans Needing Treatment for PTSD
Stecker T, White River Junction VA; Schnurr P, National Center for PTSD;
The overarching goal of this study is to improve treatment seeking among Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) Veterans who screen positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This trial tested the effectiveness of a brief cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to modify beliefs about treatment for PTSD. Participants were 266 OEF/OIF/OND Veterans who screened positive for PTSD on the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Participants were randomly assigned to either the control or intervention groups. Intervention participants were administered a one-hour cognitive-behavioral session by phone during which they were asked to discuss and modify beliefs about treatment. All participants were re-assessed on symptoms of PTSD and depression, and asked about their treatment seeking behavior at 1, 3, and 6-month follow-up interviews.
Preliminary analyses found that intervention participants were significantly more likely to seek treatment on follow-up as compared to control participants (39% versus 22%, p <0.03). Likewise, significant reductions in PCL and PHQ9 scores were observed.
Many OEF/OIF/OND Veterans in need of PTSD treatment remain resistant to PTSD treatment services. While participants receiving the brief intervention were more likely to engage in treatment, the majority remains resistant. Efforts to engage resistant Veterans should be pursued.
Many Veterans remain resistant to treatment services. Interventions designed to increase treamtent seeking are critical given high rates of suicidality and substance use in this population. Efforts to engage Veterans in need may work to reduce resistance, thereby increasing treatment utilization and quality of life.