Military Sexual Trauma (MST) among women Veterans is a problem of epidemic proportion associated with significant mental health and functional impairment and substantial access to care barriers. Surveillance data indicate that one in four women Veterans reports MST when screened. Compared to women Veterans with other service-related stressors, those experiencing MST have greater mental health problems, are more likely to report difficulty in functioning in social, family and intimate relationships and are more likely to be unemployed and to report difficulties in finding a job. Nevertheless, women with MST engage less frequently in VA health care than other women Veterans. Barriers to care include distance from specialty services, financial difficulties, childcare and family responsibilities, and gender-related discomfort in male-dominated VA facilities. Research over the past decade has clearly identified the problems and concerns of women Veterans with MST but programs addressing their mental health needs and responsive to identified barriers are lacking. The current application addresses this gap.
The objectives of the current proposal are:
1. To evaluate the effectiveness of a skills training treatment, Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR) compared to an active nonspecific treatment, Present Centered Therapy (PCT), both delivered via home-based video. It is hypothesized that STAIR will be superior to PCT in reducing PTSD and related symptoms and in improving perceived social support, community engagement and social functioning. Assessments will occur five times: baseline (week 0), mid-treatment (week 5), post-treatment (week 10), 2 month follow-up (week 18) and 4 month follow-up (week 26).
2. To elucidate facilitators and barriers of implementing STAIR via home- based video treatment (HBVT) and (b) contextualize the quantitative findings of the clinical trial to enhance our understanding of both treatment processes and effectiveness.
The current study proposes to conduct a Hybrid Type 1 effectiveness-implementation design to assess the effectiveness of STAIR relative to a nonspecific active comparator, Present Centered Therapy (PCT) among women Veterans with MST, with dedicated resources to ensure engagement of those living in rural areas. We will also evaluate remote delivery of the treatment to the home rather than a VA clinic.
1. A randomized controlled trial will be conducted to assess the relative effectiveness of STAIR vs. PCT.
2. Qualitative assessment will be conducted via a multi-stakeholder mixed-methods evaluation of the delivery of STAIR via HBVT, based on two integrated frameworks: the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) and the Replicating Effective Programs (REP).
None to date
Military sexual trauma (MST) is a common duty-related stressor which occurs among one in four female Veterans and is associated with substantial concerns about social isolation and high rates of PTSD. Women with MST also experience numerous person-level barriers to care If this program providing in-home delivery of gender-sensitive, evidence-based coping skills is found to be successful at improving social functioning and PTSD, and in reducing barriers to care, it will provide a tremendous benefit to women Veterans with MST, particularly those in rural areas.
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- Cloitre M, Khan C, Mackintosh MA, Garvert DW, Henn-Haase CM, Falvey EC, Saito J. Emotion regulation mediates the relationship between ACES and physical and mental health. Psychological trauma : theory, research, practice and policy. 2019 Jan 1; 11(1):82-89.
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- Schnyder U, Schäfer I, Aakvaag HF, Ajdukovic D, Bakker A, Bisson JI, Brewer D, Cloitre M, Dyb GA, Frewen P, Lanza J, Le Brocque R, Lueger-Schuster B, Mwiti GK, Oe M, Rosner R, Schellong J, Shigemura J, Wu K, Olff M. The global collaboration on traumatic stress. European journal of psychotraumatology. 2017 Nov 30; 8(sup7):1403257.
- Cloitre M, Garvert DW, Weiss BJ. Depression as a moderator of STAIR Narrative Therapy for women with post-traumatic stress disorder related to childhood abuse. European journal of psychotraumatology. 2017 Oct 10; 8(1):1377028.
Mental, Cognitive and Behavioral Disorders, Health Systems
Treatment - Comparative Effectiveness, TRL - Applied/Translational
Outcomes - Patient, PTSD, Rural, Sexual Trauma/Assault