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Veterans’ perceptions of the role of relationships and social engagement in recovery from PTSD.

Kehle-Forbes SM, Gerould HL, Polusny MA, Partin MR, Slone L, Sayer NA. Veterans’ perceptions of the role of relationships and social engagement in recovery from PTSD. Presented at: International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Annual Symposium; 2014 Nov 6; Miami, FL.


Objective: Few veterans with PTSD receive evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs). The low rate of engagement in EBPs may be due to veterans' perceptions that they don't address their priorities for treatment or don't fit their beliefs regarding recovering. The goal of this study was to gain a better understanding of veterans' views of recovery from PTSD with the long-term goal of increasing engagement in EBPs. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 31 VA users with PTSD who had not previously engaged in an EBP for PTSD; we recruited participants in three strata (male OEF/OIF, male Vietnam, and female veterans). We will report key themes by strata for the following questions: "What would 'getting better' or 'getting over' PTSD look life for you?" and "What do you think it takes to recover from PTSD?" Results: Male OEF/OIF and Vietnam veterans most often discussed positive changes to their social lives (improved relationships, greater engagement in social activities, and reduced anger/ irritability) following recovery from PTSD. Female veterans placed a greater focus on non-social functioning. Despite veterans' emphasis on social factors post-recovery, they were infrequently mentioned as being necessary for recovery. Discussion: Implications related to engaging veterans in EBPs will be discussed.

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