Publications by authors named "Stacey Young-McCaughan"

89 Publications

Efficacy of individual and group cognitive processing therapy for military personnel with and without child abuse histories.

J Consult Clin Psychol 2021 May;89(5):476-482

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center.

Many clinicians question whether patients with a history of childhood trauma will benefit from trauma-focused treatment. In this secondary analysis, we examined whether reports of childhood abuse moderated the efficacy of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for active-duty military with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Service members ( = 254, mean age 33.11 years, 91% male, 41% Caucasian) were randomized to receive individual or group CPT ( = 106 endorsing and = 148 not endorsing history of childhood abuse). Outcomes included baseline cognitive-emotional characteristics [Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory (PTCI), Trauma-Related Guilt Inventory (TRGI), Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire-Short Form (CERQ)], treatment completion, and symptom outcome (PTSD Checklist, Beck Depression Inventory-II). We predicted participants endorsing childhood abuse would have higher scores on the PTCI, TRGI, and CERQ at baseline, but be noninferior on treatment completion and change in PTSD and depression symptoms. We also predicted those endorsing childhood abuse would do better in individual CPT than those not endorsing abuse. Those endorsing childhood abuse primarily experienced physical abuse. There were no baseline differences between service members with and without a history of childhood abuse (all ≥ .07). Collapsed across treatment arms, treatment completion and symptom reduction were within the noninferiority margins for those endorsing versus not endorsing childhood abuse. History of abuse did not moderate response to individual versus group CPT. In this primarily male, primarily physically abused sample, active-duty military personnel with PTSD who endorsed childhood abuse benefitted as much as those who did not endorse abuse. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000641DOI Listing
May 2021

Conducting a Pragmatic Trial in Integrated Primary Care: Key Decision Points and Considerations.

J Clin Psychol Med Settings 2021 Jun 7. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Department of Medical & Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Pragmatic trials testing the effectiveness of interventions under "real world" conditions help bridge the research-to-practice gap. Such trial designs are optimal for studying the impact of implementation efforts, such as the effectiveness of integrated behavioral health clinicians in primary care settings. Formal pragmatic trials conducted in integrated primary care settings are uncommon, making it difficult for researchers to anticipate the potential pitfalls associated with balancing scientific rigor with the demands of routine clinical practice. This paper is based on our experience conducting the first phase of a large, multisite, pragmatic clinical trial evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of behavioral health consultants treating patients with chronic pain using a manualized intervention, brief cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain (BCBT-CP). The paper highlights key choice points using the PRagmatic-Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary (PRECIS-2) tool. We discuss the dilemmas of pragmatic research that we faced and offer recommendations for aspiring integrated primary care pragmatic trialists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10880-021-09790-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8184053PMC
June 2021

A Novel Approach to the Assessment of Fidelity to a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for PTSD Using Clinical Worksheets: A Proof of Concept With Cognitive Processing Therapy.

Behav Ther 2021 05 12;52(3):656-672. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Duke University Medical Center.

Fidelity monitoring is a critical indicator of psychotherapy quality and is central to successful implementation. A major barrier to fidelity in routine care is the lack of feasible, scalable, and valid measurement strategies. A reliable, low-burden fidelity assessment would promote sustained implementation of cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs). The current study examined fidelity measurement for cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using clinical worksheets. External raters evaluated patient worksheets done as a part of treatment, both guided by the therapist and completed independently as homework. Results demonstrated that fidelity ratings from CPT session worksheets were feasible and efficient. Notably, they were strongly correlated with observer ratings of the fidelity of CPT strategies that were present on the worksheets. Agreement among ratings conducted by individuals with a range of experience with CPT was acceptable to high. There was not a main effect of therapist-guided, in-session worksheet ratings on PTSD symptom change. However, patient competence in completing worksheets independently was associated with greater PTSD symptom decline and in-session, therapist-guided worksheet completion was associated with larger symptom decreases among patients with high levels of competence. With further research and refinement, rating of worksheets may be an efficient way to examine therapist and patient skill in key CPT elements, and their interactions, compared to the gold standard of observer ratings of therapy video-recordings. Additional research is needed to determine if worksheets are an accurate and scalable alternative to gold standard observer ratings in settings in which time and resources are limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2020.08.005DOI Listing
May 2021

Variable-length Cognitive Processing Therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in active duty military: Outcomes and predictors.

Behav Res Ther 2021 06 25;141:103846. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA. Electronic address:

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an evidence-based therapy recommended for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, rates of improvement and remission are lower in veterans and active duty military compared to civilians. Although CPT was developed as a 12-session therapy, varying the number of sessions based on patient response has improved outcomes in a civilian study. This paper describes outcomes of a clinical trial of variable-length CPT among an active duty sample. Aims were to determine if service members would benefit from varying the dose of treatment and identify predictors of treatment length needed to reach good end-state (PTSD Checklist-5 ≤ 19). This was a within-subjects trial in which all participants received CPT (N = 127). Predictor variables included demographic, symptom, and trauma-related variables; internalizing/externalizing personality traits; and readiness for change. Varying treatment length resulted in more patients achieving good end-state. Best predictors of nonresponse or needing longer treatment were pretreatment depression and PTSD severity, internalizing temperament, being in precontemplation stage of readiness for change, and African American race. Controlling for differences in demographics and initial PTSD symptom severity, the outcomes using a variable-length CPT protocol were superior to the outcomes of a prior study using a fixed, 12-session CPT protocol. CLINICALTRIALS.GOV IDENTIFIER: NCT023818.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2021.103846DOI Listing
June 2021

A Closer Examination of Relational Outcomes from a Pilot Study of Abbreviated, Intensive, Multi-Couple Group Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD with Military Dyads.

Fam Process 2021 Apr 20. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.

Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (CBCT for PTSD) is associated with improvements in patients' PTSD symptoms, partners' psychological distress, and relationship satisfaction. However, little is known about whether CBCT for PTSD is associated with changes in other relationship domains that have theoretical and clinical relevance to the relational context of PTSD. The current study is a secondary analysis of relational outcomes from an uncontrolled, within-group trial designed to examine whether an abbreviated, intensive, multi-couple group version of CBCT for PTSD (AIM-CBCT for PTSD) delivered in a retreat during a single weekend was associated with improvements in PTSD symptoms and relationship satisfaction. In this investigation, we examined whether AIM-CBCT for PTSD is also associated with improvements in ineffective arguing, supportive dyadic coping by partner, joint dyadic coping, and partners' accommodation of patients' PTSD symptoms. Participants were 24 couples who included a post-9/11 U.S. service member or veteran with PTSD. At 1- and 3-month follow-up, patients reported significant reductions in couples' ineffective arguing (ds = -.71 and -.78, respectively) and increases in supportive dyadic coping by partners relative to baseline (ds = .50 and .44, respectively). By 3-month follow-up, patients also reported significant increases in couples' joint dyadic coping (d = .57), and partners reported significant reductions in their accommodation of patients' PTSD symptoms (d = -.44). Findings suggest that AIM-CBCT for PTSD is associated with improvements in multiple relationship domains beyond relationship satisfaction but that these may be differentially salient for patients and partners.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/famp.12654DOI Listing
April 2021

A Closer Examination of Relational Outcomes from a Pilot Study of Abbreviated, Intensive, Multi-Couple Group Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD with Military Dyads.

Fam Process 2021 Apr 20. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.

Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (CBCT for PTSD) is associated with improvements in patients' PTSD symptoms, partners' psychological distress, and relationship satisfaction. However, little is known about whether CBCT for PTSD is associated with changes in other relationship domains that have theoretical and clinical relevance to the relational context of PTSD. The current study is a secondary analysis of relational outcomes from an uncontrolled, within-group trial designed to examine whether an abbreviated, intensive, multi-couple group version of CBCT for PTSD (AIM-CBCT for PTSD) delivered in a retreat during a single weekend was associated with improvements in PTSD symptoms and relationship satisfaction. In this investigation, we examined whether AIM-CBCT for PTSD is also associated with improvements in ineffective arguing, supportive dyadic coping by partner, joint dyadic coping, and partners' accommodation of patients' PTSD symptoms. Participants were 24 couples who included a post-9/11 U.S. service member or veteran with PTSD. At 1- and 3-month follow-up, patients reported significant reductions in couples' ineffective arguing (ds = -.71 and -.78, respectively) and increases in supportive dyadic coping by partners relative to baseline (ds = .50 and .44, respectively). By 3-month follow-up, patients also reported significant increases in couples' joint dyadic coping (d = .57), and partners reported significant reductions in their accommodation of patients' PTSD symptoms (d = -.44). Findings suggest that AIM-CBCT for PTSD is associated with improvements in multiple relationship domains beyond relationship satisfaction but that these may be differentially salient for patients and partners.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/famp.12654DOI Listing
April 2021

The Military Service Sleep Assessment: an instrument to assess factors precipitating sleep disturbances in U.S. military personnel.

J Clin Sleep Med 2021 Mar 8. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Study Objectives: Military personnel frequently experience sleep difficulties, but little is known regarding which military or life events most impact their sleep. The Military Service Sleep Assessment (MSSA) was developed to assess the impact of initial military training, first duty assignment, permanent change of station, deployments, redeployments, and stressful life events on sleep. This study presents an initial psychometric evaluation of the MSSA and descriptive data in a cohort of service members.

Methods: The MSSA was administered to 194 service members in a military sleep disorders clinic as part of a larger study.

Results: Average sleep quality on the MSSA was 2.14 (on a Likert scale, with "1" indicating "low" and "5" indicating "high" sleep quality), and 72.7% (n = 140) rated their sleep quality as "low" to "low average." The events most reported to negatively impact sleep were stressful life events (41.8%) followed by deployments (40.6%). Military leadership position (24.7%) and birth/adoption of a child (9.7%) were the most frequently reported stressful life events to negatively impact sleep. There were no significant differences in current sleep quality among service members with a history of deployment compared to service members who had not deployed.

Conclusions: The MSSA is the first military-specific sleep questionnaire. This instrument provides insights into the events during a service member's career, beyond deployments, which precipitate and perpetuate sleep disturbances and likely chronic sleep disorders. Further evaluation of the MSSA in non-treatment-seeking military populations and veterans is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.9206DOI Listing
March 2021

Study design for a randomized clinical trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy for posttraumatic headache.

Contemp Clin Trials Commun 2021 Mar 6;21:100699. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.

Posttraumatic headache (PTH) is a common debilitating condition arising from head injury and is highly prevalent among military service members and veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Diagnosis and treatment for PTH is still evolving, and surprisingly little is known about the putative mechanisms that drive these headaches. This manuscript describes the design of a randomized clinical trial of two nonpharmacological (i.e., behavioral) interventions for posttraumatic headache. Design of this trial required careful consideration of PTH diagnosis and inclusion criteria, which was challenging due to the lack of standard clinical characteristics in PTH unique from other types of headaches. The treatments under study differed in clinical focus and dose (i.e., number of treatment sessions), but the trial was designed to balance the treatments as well as possible. Finally, while the primary endpoints for pain research can vary from assessments of pain intensity to objective and subjective functional measures, this trial of PTH interventions chose carefully to establish clinically relevant endpoints and to maximize the opportunity to detect significant differences between groups with two primary outcomes. All these issues are discussed in this manuscript.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conctc.2021.100699DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7806520PMC
March 2021

Parameters of Aggressive Behavior in a Treatment-Seeking Sample of Military Personnel: A Secondary Analysis of Three Randomized Controlled Trials of Evidence-Based PTSD Treatments.

Behav Ther 2021 01 30;52(1):136-148. Epub 2020 Mar 30.

VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine.

Aggressive behavior is prevalent among veterans of post-9/11 conflicts who have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, little is known about whether PTSD treatments reduce aggression or the direction of the association between changes in PTSD symptoms and aggression in the context of PTSD treatment. We combined data from three clinical trials of evidence-based PTSD treatment in service members (N = 592) to: (1) examine whether PTSD treatment reduces psychological (e.g., verbal behavior) and physical aggression, and; (2) explore temporal associations between aggressive behavior and PTSD. Both psychological (Estimate = -2.20, SE = 0.07) and physical aggression (Estimate = -0.36, SE = 0.05) were significantly reduced from baseline to posttreatment follow-up. Lagged PTSD symptom reduction was not associated with reduced reports of aggression; however, higher baseline PTSD scores were significantly associated with greater reductions in psychological aggression (exclusively; ß = -0.67, 95% CI = -1.05, -0.30, SE = -3.49). Findings reveal that service members receiving PTSD treatment report substantial collateral changes in psychological aggression over time, particularly for participants with greater PTSD symptom severity. Clinicians should consider cotherapies or alternative ways of targeting physical aggression among service members with PTSD and alternative approaches to reduce psychological aggression among service members with relatively low PTSD symptom severity when considering evidence-based PTSD treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2020.03.007DOI Listing
January 2021

Targeting Chronic Pain in Primary Care Settings by Using Behavioral Health Consultants: Methods of a Randomized Pragmatic Trial.

Pain Med 2020 12;21(Suppl 2):S83-S90

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Background: Manualized cognitive and behavioral therapies are increasingly used in primary care environments to improve nonpharmacological pain management. The Brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain (BCBT-CP) intervention, recently implemented by the Defense Health Agency for use across the military health system, is a modular, primary care-based treatment program delivered by behavioral health consultants integrated into primary care for patients experiencing chronic pain. Although early data suggest that this intervention improves functioning, it is unclear whether the benefits of BCBT-CP are sustained. The purpose of this paper is to describe the methods of a pragmatic clinical trial designed to test the effect of monthly telehealth booster contacts on treatment retention and long-term clinical outcomes for BCBT-CP treatment, as compared with BCBT-CP without a booster, in 716 Defense Health Agency beneficiaries with chronic pain.

Design: A randomized pragmatic clinical trial will be used to examine whether telehealth booster contacts improve outcomes associated with BCBT-CP treatments. Monthly booster contacts will reinforce BCBT-CP concepts and the home practice plan. Outcomes will be assessed 3, 6, 12, and 18 months after the first appointment for BCBT-CP. Focus groups will be conducted to assess the usability, perceived effectiveness, and helpfulness of the booster contacts.

Summary: Most individuals with chronic pain are managed in primary care, but few are offered biopsychosocial approaches to care. This pragmatic brief trial will test whether a pragmatic enhancement to routine clinical care, monthly booster contacts, results in sustained functional changes among patients with chronic pain receiving BCBT-CP in primary care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnaa346DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7825087PMC
December 2020

An Examination of Chronic Pain Indices and the Updated Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental-Disorders-Fifth Edition.

Mil Med 2020 Dec 10. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.

Introduction: Chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) comorbidity is prevalent among veterans and is associated with increased levels of pain severity and pain-related disability. An improved understanding of the relationship between these co-occurring disorders, in addition to effective integrated treatments, will develop by considering the changes to the PTSD diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The current study examined the relationship between the revised PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) symptom clusters (i.e., intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition and mood [NACM], and arousal) and chronic pain measurements (i.e., pain severity, interference, and disability).

Materials And Methods: Participants included 103 veterans (ages 26-70, mean = 45.33) participating in a randomized clinical trial examining the efficacy of an interdisciplinary pain management program for chronic musculoskeletal pain. The study was approved by a university system Institutional Review Board and affiliated healthcare system.

Results: The participants with a provisional PTSD diagnosis based on PCL-5 responses (N = 76) had significantly greater pain severity, interference, and disability than the participants without a provisional diagnosis (N = 23). Correlations between symptom clusters and pain measurements were mostly significant and positive with varying strengths. The avoidance symptom cluster, however, had relatively weaker correlations with pain measurements and was not significantly associated with the numeric rating scale of pain severity. Path analyses revealed that, after controlling for avoidance symptoms, significant associations remained between NACM and all the pain measurements. After controlling for NACM symptoms, however, there were no significant associations between avoidance symptoms and pain measurements.

Conclusion: The current study highlights a need to re-examine the leading theories about the mutual maintenance of these disorders in order to develop effective integrative treatment approaches. PTSD-related avoidance may have a relatively weaker role in co-occurring chronic pain than the other symptom clusters and may have a qualitatively different role than chronic pain-related avoidance. Future research should explore the relationship between the avoidance in PTSD and the avoidance in chronic pain as well as identify which chronic pain measurements are the most useful when examining the relationship between PTSD and chronic pain. The potential impact of trauma-related cognition and mood on chronic pain indicates that this is an important area for intervention and should be considered in the development of integrated treatments for chronic pain and PTSD among veterans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/milmed/usaa529DOI Listing
December 2020

The effects of web-prolonged exposure among military personnel and veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Psychol Trauma 2020 Nov 19. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Objective: Web-based treatments address many of the logistical and stigma-related barriers to in-person behavioral health care. Prior studies of web-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) did not employ gold-standard treatments and have not compared to in-person therapy.

Method: We compared a web version of Prolonged Exposure Therapy, "Web-PE," to in-person Present-Centered Therapy (PCT) in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 40 military personnel with PTSD seeking treatment at Fort Hood, Texas. Due to recruitment challenges, we terminated the RCT and subsequently examined the effects of Web-PE in an uncontrolled open trial with 34 service members and veterans recruited nationwide. Both studies assessed PTSD, depressive symptoms, and health functioning at baseline and 1 and 3 months posttreatment; the RCT also included a 6-month assessment.

Results: Results of the RCT showed no differential impact for Web-PE and PCT, although more PCT participants achieved clinically significant change at one of the follow-up assessments. Both treatment conditions significantly reduced self-reported and blind independent interviewer-assessed symptoms of PTSD. Results of the open trial showed that Web-PE was associated with significant reductions in self-reported PTSD symptoms, with a much larger effect size than in the RCT.

Conclusions: Web-PE significantly reduced PTSD symptoms in both studies, although the reductions in PTSD symptoms were greater among open trial participants, who were specifically seeking a web-based treatment. Future research should evaluate Web-PE relative to another web-based treatment. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000978DOI Listing
November 2020

The effects of web-prolonged exposure among military personnel and veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Psychol Trauma 2020 Nov 19. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Objective: Web-based treatments address many of the logistical and stigma-related barriers to in-person behavioral health care. Prior studies of web-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) did not employ gold-standard treatments and have not compared to in-person therapy.

Method: We compared a web version of Prolonged Exposure Therapy, "Web-PE," to in-person Present-Centered Therapy (PCT) in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 40 military personnel with PTSD seeking treatment at Fort Hood, Texas. Due to recruitment challenges, we terminated the RCT and subsequently examined the effects of Web-PE in an uncontrolled open trial with 34 service members and veterans recruited nationwide. Both studies assessed PTSD, depressive symptoms, and health functioning at baseline and 1 and 3 months posttreatment; the RCT also included a 6-month assessment.

Results: Results of the RCT showed no differential impact for Web-PE and PCT, although more PCT participants achieved clinically significant change at one of the follow-up assessments. Both treatment conditions significantly reduced self-reported and blind independent interviewer-assessed symptoms of PTSD. Results of the open trial showed that Web-PE was associated with significant reductions in self-reported PTSD symptoms, with a much larger effect size than in the RCT.

Conclusions: Web-PE significantly reduced PTSD symptoms in both studies, although the reductions in PTSD symptoms were greater among open trial participants, who were specifically seeking a web-based treatment. Future research should evaluate Web-PE relative to another web-based treatment. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000978DOI Listing
November 2020

The Impact of Hazardous Drinking Among Active Duty Military With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Does Cognitive Processing Therapy Format Matter?

J Trauma Stress 2021 02 19;34(1):210-220. Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

This study was a secondary data analysis of clinical trial data collected from 268 active duty U.S. military service members seeking cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at Fort Hood, Texas, related to combat operations following September 11, 2001. Our primary aim was to evaluate changes in PTSD symptom severity and alcohol misuse as a function of baseline hazardous drinking and treatment format (i.e., group or individual). At baseline and posttreatment, PTSD was assessed using the PTSD Symptom Scale-Interview Version and PTSD Checklist for DSM-5. Hazardous drinking was categorically defined as an Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test total score of 8 or higher. Employing intent-to-treat, mixed-effects regression analysis, all groups reported reduced PTSD symptom severity, Hedges' gs = -0.33 to -1.01, except, unexpectedly, nonhazardous drinkers who were randomized to group CPT, Hedges' g = -0.12. Hazardous drinkers who were randomized to individual therapy had larger reductions in PTSD symptoms than nonhazardous drinkers who were randomized to group CPT, Hedges' g = -0.25. Hazardous drinkers also reported significant reductions in alcohol misuse, regardless of treatment format, Hedges' gs = -0.78 to -0.86. This study builds upon an emerging literature suggesting that individuals with PTSD and co-occurring alcohol use disorder can engage successfully in CPT, which appears to be an appropriate treatment for these individuals whether it is delivered individually or in a group format. However, as a portion of participants remained classified as hazardous drinkers at posttreatment, some individuals may benefit from integrated treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jts.22609DOI Listing
February 2021

A Nonrandomized Trial of Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy for Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Deployed Setting.

Behav Ther 2020 11 13;51(6):882-894. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

For many decades, the U.S. military's general operational guideline has been to limit the use of trauma-focused treatments for combat and operational stress reactions in military service members until they have returned from deployment. Recently, published clinical trials have documented that active-duty military personnel with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be treated effectively in garrison. However, there are limited data on the treatment of combat and operational stress reactions or combat-related PTSD during military deployments. This prospective, nonrandomized trial evaluated the treatment of active-duty service members (N = 12) with combat and operational stress reactions or combat-related PTSD while deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. Service members were treated by deployed military behavioral health providers using modified Prolonged Exposure (PE; n = 6) or modified Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT; n = 6), with protocol modifications tailored to individual mission requirements. The PTSD Checklist-Military Version (PCL-M) total score was the primary outcome measure. Results indicated that both groups demonstrated clinically significant change in PTSD symptoms as indicated by a reduction of 10 points or greater on the PCL-M. Participants treated with modified PE had significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, t = -3.83, p = .01; g = -1.32, with a mean reduction of 18.17 points on the PCL-M. Participants treated with modified CPT had a mean PCL-M reduction of 10.00 points, but these reductions were not statistically significant, t = -1.49, p = .12; g = -0.51. These findings provide preliminary evidence that modified forms of PE and CPT can be implemented in deployed settings for the treatment of combat and operational stress reactions and combat-related PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2020.01.003DOI Listing
November 2020

Manage Emotions to Reduce Aggression: A Pilot Study of a Brief Treatment to Help Veterans Reduce Impulsive Aggression.

J Nerv Ment Dis 2020 11;208(11):897-903

Hope and Healing Center & Institute, Houston.

Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report more aggression than civilians with PTSD. Because emotion regulation difficulties mediated the relationship between PTSD symptoms and impulsive aggression in veterans, we developed an intervention to increase emotion regulation skills. This pilot study tested the feasibility and acceptability of a three-session treatment, Manage Emotions to Reduce Aggression (MERA), and examined its effectiveness at reducing aggression and emotion dysregulation. Male combat veterans with PTSD and impulsive aggression completed assessments before and 4 weeks after MERA. Overt Aggression Scale measured frequency of aggression; Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale assessed emotion dysregulation. Most veterans (95%) who completed MERA and the posttreatment assessment (n = 20) reported MERA was helpful. Veterans in the intent-to-treat sample demonstrated a significant decrease in their frequency of aggression (Cohen's d = -0.55) and emotion dysregulation (Cohen's d = -0.55). MERA may be an innovative treatment that helps veterans reduce aggression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/NMD.0000000000001229DOI Listing
November 2020

Reason to doubt the ICHD-3 7-day inclusion criterion for mild TBI-related posttraumatic headache: A nested cohort study.

Cephalalgia 2020 10 31;40(11):1155-1167. Epub 2020 Aug 31.

Department of Anaesthesia, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Posttraumatic headache is difficult to define and there is debate about the specificity of the 7-day headache onset criterion in the current definition. There is limited evidence available to guide decision making about this criterion.

Method: A nested cohort study of 193 treatment-seeking veterans who met criteria for persistent headache attributed to mild traumatic injury to the head, including some veterans with delayed headache onset up to 90 days post-injury, was undertaken. Survival analysis examined the proportion of participants reporting headache over time and differences in these proportions based on sex, headache phenotype, and mechanism of injury.

Result: 127 participants (66%; 95% CI: 59-72%) reported headache onset within 7 days of head injury and 65 (34%) reported headache onset between 8 days and 3 months after head injury. Fourteen percent of participants reported pre-existing migraine before head injury, and there was no difference in the proportion of veterans with pre-existing migraine based on headache onset. Headache onset times were not associated with sex, headache phenotype, or mechanism of injury. There were no significant differences in proportion of veterans with headache onset within 7 days of head injury based on headache phenotype (70% migraine onset within 7 days, 70% tension-type headache within 7 days, 56% cluster headache within 7 days; ≥ .364). Similar findings were observed for head injury (64% blast, 60% blunt;  = .973). There were no significant differences observed between headache onset groups for psychiatric symptoms (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for  = 1.3, 95% CI = -27.5, 30.1; Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Item = 3.5, 95% CI = -6.3, 3.7; Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screener = 6.5, 95% CI = -2.7, 15.6).

Conclusions: Although most of the sample reported headache onset within 7 days of head injury, one-third experienced an onset outside of the diagnostic range. Additionally, veterans with headache onset within 7 days of head injury were not meaningfully different from those with later onset based on sex, headache phenotype, or mechanism of head injury. The ICHD-3 diagnostic criteria for 7-day headache onset should be expanded to 3 months.

Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02419131.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0333102420953109DOI Listing
October 2020

Intensive, Multi-Couple Group Therapy for PTSD: A Nonrandomized Pilot Study With Military and Veteran Dyads.

Behav Ther 2020 09 27;51(5):700-714. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; South Texas Veterans Health Care System; The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (CBCT for PTSD; Monson & Fredman, 2012) is efficacious in improving PTSD symptoms and relationship adjustment among couples with PTSD. However, there is a need for more efficient delivery formats to maximize engagement and retention and to achieve faster outcomes in multiple domains. This nonrandomized trial was designed to pilot an abbreviated, intensive, multi-couple group version of CBCT for PTSD (AIM-CBCT for PTSD) delivered over a single weekend for 24 couples that included an active-duty service member or veteran with PTSD who had deployed in support of combat operations following September 11, 2001. All couples completed treatment. Assessments conducted by clinical evaluators 1 and 3 months after the intervention revealed significant reductions in clinician-rated PTSD symptoms (ds = -0.77 and -0.98, respectively) and in patients' self-reported symptoms of PTSD (ds = -0.73 and -1.17, respectively), depression (ds = -0.60 and -0.75, respectively), anxiety (ds = -0.63 and -0.73, respectively), and anger (ds = -0.45 and -0.60, respectively), relative to baseline. By 3-month follow-up, partners reported significant reductions in patients' PTSD symptoms (d = -0.56), as well as significant improvements in their own depressive symptoms (d = -0.47), anxiety (d = -0.60), and relationship satisfaction (d = 0.53), relative to baseline. Delivering CBCT for PTSD through an abbreviated, intensive multi-couple group format may be an efficient strategy for improving patient, partner, and relational well-being in military and veteran couples with PTSD.
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September 2020

Intensive, Multi-Couple Group Therapy for PTSD: A Nonrandomized Pilot Study With Military and Veteran Dyads.

Behav Ther 2020 09 27;51(5):700-714. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; South Texas Veterans Health Care System; The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (CBCT for PTSD; Monson & Fredman, 2012) is efficacious in improving PTSD symptoms and relationship adjustment among couples with PTSD. However, there is a need for more efficient delivery formats to maximize engagement and retention and to achieve faster outcomes in multiple domains. This nonrandomized trial was designed to pilot an abbreviated, intensive, multi-couple group version of CBCT for PTSD (AIM-CBCT for PTSD) delivered over a single weekend for 24 couples that included an active-duty service member or veteran with PTSD who had deployed in support of combat operations following September 11, 2001. All couples completed treatment. Assessments conducted by clinical evaluators 1 and 3 months after the intervention revealed significant reductions in clinician-rated PTSD symptoms (ds = -0.77 and -0.98, respectively) and in patients' self-reported symptoms of PTSD (ds = -0.73 and -1.17, respectively), depression (ds = -0.60 and -0.75, respectively), anxiety (ds = -0.63 and -0.73, respectively), and anger (ds = -0.45 and -0.60, respectively), relative to baseline. By 3-month follow-up, partners reported significant reductions in patients' PTSD symptoms (d = -0.56), as well as significant improvements in their own depressive symptoms (d = -0.47), anxiety (d = -0.60), and relationship satisfaction (d = 0.53), relative to baseline. Delivering CBCT for PTSD through an abbreviated, intensive multi-couple group format may be an efficient strategy for improving patient, partner, and relational well-being in military and veteran couples with PTSD.
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September 2020

Corrigendum to "Neuroendocrine biomarkers of prolonged exposure treatment response in military-related PTSD" [Psychoneuroendocrinology (2020) Article 104749].

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2020 10 10;120:104802. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX 78229, USA; South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Research and Development Service, 7400 Merton Minter, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA; University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Psychology, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104802DOI Listing
October 2020

The effects of a prolonged exposure workshop with and without consultation on provider and patient outcomes: a randomized implementation trial.

Implement Sci 2020 07 29;15(1):59. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.

Background: Prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is an evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is underutilized in the military health system. Standard workshop training in PE may not be sufficient to alter provider behavior, but post-workshop consultation requires significant resources. Therefore, it is important to determine the incremental utility of post-workshop consultation.

Methods: This study used a hybrid type III randomized implementation trial at 3 US Army installations. Providers were randomized to receive a 4-day prolonged exposure workshop (Standard training condition, n = 60), or the prolonged exposure workshop followed by 6-8 months of post-workshop expert case consultation (Extended training condition, n = 43). The effects training condition were examined on provider attitudes (self-efficacy in delivering PE, expectations for patient improvement, and beliefs about PE), use of PE and PE components, and clinical outcomes of patients with PTSD (using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5)).

Results: Extended condition providers reported greater improvements in self-efficacy, b = .83, 95% CI [.38, 1.27], t(79) = 3.71, p = .001, and d = .63. A greater proportion of patients in the Extended condition (44%) than in the Standard condition (27%) received at least 1 PE session, b = .76, t(233) = 2.53, p = .012, and OR = 2.13. Extended condition providers used more PE components (M = .9/session) than did Standard condition providers (M = .5/session), b = .54, 95% CI [.15, .93], t(68) = 2.70, p = .007, and d = .68. Finally, decrease in patients' PTSD symptoms was faster for patients of Extended condition providers than for patients of Standard condition providers, b = - 1.81, 95% CI [- 3.57, - .04], t(263) = - 2.02, p = .045, and d = .66, and their symptoms were lower at the second assessment, b = - 5.47, 95% CI [- 9.30, - 1.63], t(210) = - 2.81, p = .005, and d = .66.

Conclusions: Post-workshop consultation improved self-efficacy for delivering PE, greater use of PE, faster PTSD reduction, and lower PTSD severity at the second assessment. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that post-workshop case consultation for PE improves patient outcomes.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov , NCT02982538 . Registered December 5, 2016; retrospectively registered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13012-020-01014-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7388467PMC
July 2020

A test of the fear avoidance model to predict chronic pain outcomes in a polytrauma sample.

NeuroRehabilitation 2020 ;47(1):35-43

Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, USA.

Background: Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a complex problem, particularly for individuals with head injury and comorbid psychiatric conditions. The Fear Avoidance Model offers one of the strongest opportunities to conceptualize comorbid traumatic injury and pain, but this model is largely untested.

Objective: This study tests the Fear Avoidance Model of chronic pain using a sample from a study of polytrauma patients in a large Department of Veterans Affairs facility who participated in a federally-funded study of interdisciplinary chronic pain management.

Methods: The present study comprises a secondary analysis of 93 veterans with chronic pain, head injury, posttraumatic stress symptoms and a history of persistent opioid use. Standardized measures of Fear Avoidance Model risk factors (e.g., pain catastrophizing, fear avoidance beliefs, anxiety, depression) were examined as cross-sectional predictors of pain-related disability.

Results: Secondary data analysis revealed that Fear Avoidance Model factors accounted for almost 40% of the variance in pain-related disability, with pain catastrophizing and depression demonstrating the strongest relationships with disability. A summary variable combining all four factors revealed a 6% increase in disability for each factor that was clinically significant for the sample patients.

Conclusions: This study represents the first attempt to examine a complex, theoretical model of pain in a comorbid pain and TBI sample. Findings revealed a strong relationship between this model and pain-related disability that outperforms pain intensity ratings. This model could be used to guide better treatment for comorbid pain and TBI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/NRE-203084DOI Listing
November 2020

Predictors of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) Outcomes in Active-Duty U.S. Army Personnel.

Behav Ther 2020 07 14;51(4):522-534. Epub 2020 Feb 14.

University of Arizona.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) is well established as the first-line treatment for the management of chronic insomnia. Identifying predictors of response to CBTi should enable the field to efficiently utilize resources to treat those who are likely to respond and to personalize treatment approaches to optimize outcomes for those who are less likely to respond to traditional CBTi. Although a range of studies have been conducted, no clear pattern of predictors of response to CBTi has emerged. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact and relative importance of a comprehensive group of pretreatment predictors of insomnia outcomes in 99 active-duty service members who received in-person CBTi in a randomized clinical trial. Results indicated that higher levels of baseline insomnia severity and total sleep time predicted greater improvements on the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) following treatment. Higher depression symptoms and a history of head injury predicted a worse response to treatment (i.e., smaller improvements on the ISI). Clinically meaningful improvements, as measured by the reliable change index (RCI), were found in 59% of the sample. Over and above baseline insomnia severity, only depressive symptoms predicted this outcome. Future studies should examine if modifications to CBTi based on these predictors of response can improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2020.02.001DOI Listing
July 2020

Neuroendocrine biomarkers of prolonged exposure treatment response in military-related PTSD.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2020 09 8;119:104749. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA; South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Research and Development Service, 7400 Merton Minter, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA; University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Psychology, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX, 78249, USA. Electronic address:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with dysregulation of the neuroendocrine system, including cortisol, allopregnanolone, and pregnanolone. Preliminary evidence from animal models suggests that baseline levels of these biomarkers may predict response to PTSD treatment. We report the change in biomarkers over the course of PTSD treatment. Biomarkers were sampled from individuals participating in (1) a randomized controlled trial comparing a web-version of Prolonged Exposure (Web-PE) therapy to in-person Present-Centered Therapy (PCT) and (2) from individuals participating in a nonrandomized effectiveness study testing PE delivered in-person as part of an intensive outpatient PTSD program. We found that higher cortisol reactivity during script-driven imagery was associated with higher baseline PTSD severity and that baseline allopregnanolone, pregnanolone, and cortisol reactivity were associated with PTSD treatment responder status over the course of intensive outpatient treatment. These findings demonstrate that peripherally assessed biomarkers are associated with PTSD severity and likelihood of successful treatment outcome of PE delivered daily over two weeks. These assessments could be used to determine which patients are likely to respond to treatment and which patients require augmentation to increase the likelihood of optimal response to PTSD treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104749DOI Listing
September 2020

Targeted Assessment and Context-Tailored Implementation of Change Strategies (TACTICS) to increase evidence based psychotherapy in military behavioral health clinics: Design of a cluster-randomized stepped-wedge implementation study.

Contemp Clin Trials 2020 06 21;93:106008. Epub 2020 Apr 21.

National Center for PTSD, Dissemination and Training Division, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, 795 Willow Rd, Menlo Park, CA, United States of America; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94305, United States of America. Electronic address:

Background: Despite efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense to train behavioral health (BH) providers in evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), numerous barriers limit EBP implementation. A context-tailored implementation approach called TACTICS (Targeted Assessment and Context-Tailored Implementation of Change Strategies) holds promise for increasing the use of EBPs such as prolonged exposure therapy (PE) in military treatment facilities. TACTICS combines a needs assessment, a rubric for selecting implementation strategies based on local barriers, an implementation toolkit, and external facilitation to support local champions and their implementation teams in enacting changes. This paper describes the rationale for and design of a study that will evaluate whether TACTICS can increase implementation of PE for PTSD and improve patient outcomes in military BH clinics relative to provider training in PE alone.

Methods: The study is a multi-site, cluster randomized, stepped-wedge trial, with the military treatment facility as the unit of analysis. Eight facilities undergo a provider-training phase, followed by 5 months of TACTICS implementation. The timing of TACTICS at each facility is randomly assigned to begin 9, 14, or 19 months after beginning the provider-training phase. Primary analyses will compare the proportion of PTSD patients receiving PE and patients' mean improvement in PTSD symptoms before and after the onset of TACTICS.

Discussion: TACTICS endeavors to balance standardization of empirically-supported implementation strategies with the flexibility of application necessary for success across varied clinical settings. If successful, TACTICS may represent a systematic and scalable method of promoting and supporting EBP implementation.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT03663452.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2020.106008DOI Listing
June 2020

Sleep problems in active duty military personnel seeking treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder: presence, change, and impact on outcomes.

Sleep 2020 10;43(10)

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Study Objectives: To examine sleep disorder symptom reports at baseline and posttreatment in a sample of active duty U.S. Army Soldiers receiving treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Explore sleep-related predictors of outcomes.

Methods: Sleep was evaluated in 128 participants in a parent randomized clinical trial comparing Spaced formats of Prolonged Exposure (PE) or Present Centered Therapy and a Massed format of PE. In the current study, Spaced formats were combined and evaluated separately from Massed.

Results: At baseline, the average sleep duration was < 5 h per night on weekdays/workdays and < 6 h per night on weekends/off days. The majority of participants reported clinically significant insomnia, clinically significant nightmares, and probable sleep apnea and approximately half reported excessive daytime sleepiness at baseline. Insomnia and nightmares improved significantly from baseline to posttreatment in all groups, but many patients reported clinically significant insomnia (>70%) and nightmares (>38%) posttreatment. Excessive daytime sleepiness significantly improved only in the Massed group, but 40% continued to report clinically significant levels at posttreatment. Short sleep (Spaced only), clinically significant insomnia and nightmares, excessive daytime sleepiness, and probable sleep apnea (Massed only) at baseline predicted higher PTSD symptoms across treatment course. Short weekends/off days sleep predicted lower PTSD symptom improvement in the Spaced treatments.

Conclusions: Various sleep disorder symptoms were high at baseline, were largely unchanged with PTSD treatment, and were related to worse PTSD treatment outcomes. Studies are needed with objective sleep assessments and targeted sleep disorders treatments in PTSD patients.

Clinical Trial Registration: NCT01049516.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsaa065DOI Listing
October 2020

A pilot randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavioral treatment for trauma-related nightmares in active duty military personnel.

J Clin Sleep Med 2020 01 26;16(1):29-40. Epub 2019 Nov 26.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

Study Objectives: The aim of this study was to obtain preliminary data on the efficacy, credibility, and acceptability of Exposure, relaxation, and rescripting therapy for military service members and veterans (ERRT-M) in active duty military personnel with trauma-related nightmares.

Methods: Forty participants were randomized to either 5 sessions of ERRT-M or 5 weeks of minimal contact control (MCC) followed by ERRT-M. Assessments were completed at baseline, posttreatment/postcontrol, and 1-month follow-up.

Results: Differences between ERRT-M and control were generally medium in size for nightmare frequency (Cohen d = -0.53), nights with nightmares (d = -0.38), nightmare severity (d = -0.60), fear of sleep (d = -0.44), and symptoms of insomnia (d = -0.52), and depression (d = -0.51). In the 38 participants who received ERRT-M, there were statistically significant, medium-sized decreases in nightmare frequency (d = -0.52), nights with nightmares (d = -0.50), nightmare severity (d = -0.55), fear of sleep (d = -0.48), and symptoms of insomnia (d = -0.59), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (d = -0.58) and depression (d = -0.59) from baseline to 1-month follow-up. Participants generally endorsed medium to high ratings of treatment credibility and expectancy. The treatment dropout rate (17.5%) was comparable to rates observed for similar treatments in civilians.

Conclusions: ERRT-M produced medium effect-size reductions in nightmares and several secondary outcomes including PTSD, depression, and insomnia. Participants considered ERRT-M to be credible. An adequately powered randomized clinical trial is needed to confirm findings and to compare ERRT-M to an active treatment control.

Clinical Trial Registration: Registry: ClinicalTrials.gov; Title: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Treatment for Trauma-Related Nightmares In Active Duty Military Personnel; Identifier: NCT02506595; URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02506595.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.8116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7053000PMC
January 2020

Study design comparing written exposure therapy to cognitive processing therapy for PTSD among military service members: A noninferiority trial.

Contemp Clin Trials Commun 2020 Mar 10;17:100507. Epub 2019 Dec 10.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Department of Psychiatry, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA.

Although there are a number of effective treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there is a need to develop more efficient evidence-based PTSD treatments to address barriers to seeking and receiving treatment. Written exposure therapy (WET) is a potential alternative that is a 5-session treatment without any between-session assignments. WET has demonstrated efficacy, and low treatment dropout rates. However, prior studies with WET have primarily focused on civilian samples. Identifying efficient PTSD treatments for military service members is critical given the high prevalence of PTSD in this population. The current ongoing randomized clinical trial builds upon the existing literature by investigating whether WET is equally efficacious as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) in a sample of 150 active duty military service members diagnosed with PTSD who are randomly assigned to either WET ( = 75) or CPT ( = 75). Participants are assessed at baseline and 10, 20, and 30 weeks after the first treatment session. The primary outcome measure is PTSD symptom severity assessed with the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for . Given the prevalence of PTSD and the aforementioned limitations of currently available first-line PTSD treatments, the identification of a brief, efficacious treatment that is associated with reduced patient dropout would represent a significant public health development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conctc.2019.100507DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6926127PMC
March 2020

Trauma-Related Cognitions and Cognitive Emotion Regulation as Mediators of PTSD Change Among Treatment-Seeking Active-Duty Military Personnel With PTSD.

Behav Ther 2019 11 5;50(6):1053-1062. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Trauma-related cognitions about the self and the world have been identified as a mediator of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) change during prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. However, the extent to which negative cognitions mediate PTSD change in other PTSD treatments is unclear. In addition, previous studies have not tested alternate mediators of PTSD change during PE. In a sample of 216 treatment-seeking active-duty military personnel with PTSD, the present study examined the specificity of the negative cognition mediation effect in both PE and present-centered therapy (PCT). In addition, we examined another possible mediator, cognitive emotion regulation. Lagged mediational analyses indicated that negative cognitions about the self and world and the unhelpful cognitive emotion regulation strategy of catastrophizing each significantly mediated change in PTSD from baseline to 6-month follow-up. In a combined model, the mediating effect of catastrophizing was greater than negative cognitions about the world, and similar to negative cognitions about the self. Moderated mediation analyses revealed that the effect of catastrophizing was greater in PE than in PCT. Findings show that trauma-related cognitions and, to a greater degree, the emotion regulation strategy catastrophizing, both mediate PTSD change. Further research is needed to determine whether these mediating variables represent mechanisms of therapeutic change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2019.03.006DOI Listing
November 2019

Changes in anger and aggression after treatment for PTSD in active duty military.

J Clin Psychol 2020 03 16;76(3):493-507. Epub 2019 Nov 16.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Objective: To examine whether treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reduces anger and aggression and if changes in PTSD symptoms are associated with changes in anger and aggression.

Method: Active duty service members (n = 374) seeking PTSD treatment in two randomized clinical trials completed a pretreatment assessment, 12 treatment sessions, and a posttreatment assessment. Outcomes included the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale and state anger subscale of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory.

Results: Treatment groups were analyzed together. There were small to moderate pretreatment to posttreatment reductions in anger (standardized mean difference [SMD] = -0.25), psychological aggression (SMD = -0.43), and physical aggression (SMD = -0.25). The majority of participants continued to endorse anger and aggression at posttreatment. Changes in PTSD symptoms were mildly to moderately associated with changes in anger and aggression.

Conclusions: PTSD treatments reduced anger and aggression with effects similar to anger and aggression treatments; innovative psychotherapies are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22878DOI Listing
March 2020