Internet‐based family training with telephone coaching to promote mental health treatment initiation among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: A pilot study

Abstract: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among military veterans, yet many affected veterans do not seek treatment. Family members of these veterans often experience compromised well-being and a desire for the veteran to receive mental health care. The Veterans Affairs (VA)–Community Reinforcement and Family Training (VA-CRAFT) for PTSD is an internet-based intervention intended to teach veterans’ family members skills to encourage veterans to initiate mental health care. This study assessed the feasibility, acceptability, and potential efficacy of VA-CRAFT with telephone coaching in a sample of 12 spouses and intimate partners of veterans with PTSD. Participants completed the intervention over 12 weeks and were assessed pre- and posttreatment. For feasibility, 75.0% (n = 9) of participants completed the intervention and reported few difficulties and ease of use. Supporting acceptability, all nine completers had mostly favorable impressions of the intervention and perceived it as helpful. Finally, six (50.0%) participants got the PTSD-affected veteran to engage in mental health care; however, aside from potentially increasing treatment talk frequency, outcome expectancy, and self-efficacy, ds = 0.60–1.08, no apparent improvements were observed for any well-being outcomes, ds = 0.01–0.40. Although the findings are promising, given the study limitations, future research is required to evaluate this approach in a full-scale randomized controlled trial.

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