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Social Factors Predict Treatment Engagement in Veterans with PTSD or SUD.

Fivecoat HC, Lookatch SJ, Mavandadi S, McKay JR, Sayers SL. Social Factors Predict Treatment Engagement in Veterans with PTSD or SUD. The journal of behavioral health services & research. 2023 Jul 1; 50(3):286-300.

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Veterans with PTSD and SUDs often fail to initiate, or prematurely discontinue, mental health treatment in Veteran Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC). While much is known about clinical characteristics and demographic factors impacting treatment engagement in this population, less is known about the role of social factors. This retrospective study examines primary care-based screening assessment and specialty mental healthcare appointment data in a VAMC, to test whether social factors predict treatment initiation and appointment attendance. Findings reveal veterans were more likely to initiate treatment when (a) those with SUDs (n? = 235) reported more frequent negative exchanges with others and (b) those with PTSD (n? = 2107) reported more perceived support or being partnered. Those with PTSD who were partnered had higher appointment attendance rates. Findings suggest social factors are relevant to treatment initiation among veterans with PTSD and SUDs and that close others may be helpful in facilitating referrals.

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