Health Services Research & Development

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Browne KC, Chen JA, Hundt NE, Hudson TJ, Grubbs KM, Fortney JC. Veterans self-reported reasons for non-attendance in psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological Services. 2019 Jul 22.
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Abstract: This study explored rates of non-attendance (i.e., non-initiation, inconsistent attendance, early discontinuation) in cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and other posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) focused individual and group psychotherapies (i.e., interventions with at least some PTSD and/or trauma-related content) and characterized veterans' self-reported reasons for non-attendance in these treatments. Baseline and 6-month follow-up data from the Telemedicine Outreach for PTSD study, a pragmatic randomized effectiveness trial conducted in 11 Veterans Health Administration community-based outpatient clinics, was examined ( = 265 veterans). Over 90% of veterans with a scheduled psychotherapy appointment attended at least one appointment by 6-month follow-up. Self-reported treatment completion was higher for veterans attending individual CPT (25%) than for those attending PTSD-focused individual (4.4%) and group psychotherapy (15.5%). However, rates of inconsistent attendance (13.3%) and early discontinuation (18.3%) were also higher in veterans attending CPT when compared to other forms of PTSD-focused psychotherapy (inconsistent attendance-individual: 2.2%, group: 6.9%; early discontinuation-individual: 14.6%; group: 10.3%). Issues with scheduling appointments was one of the most frequently reported reasons for non-attendance across treatments (> 20%). Logistical barriers, including transportation (CPT), therapy taking too much time (PTSD-focused individual psychotherapy) and not being able to afford counseling (PTSD-focused group psychotherapy), were also commonly cited (i.e., > 15%). Those scheduled to attend CPT (26%) or PTSD-focused individual psychotherapy (11%) also cited treatment efficacy concerns as a reason for non-attendance. Findings suggest logistical barriers, particularly scheduling convenient appointments, and beliefs about treatment may be important to address when engaging veterans in psychotherapy for PTSD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).