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Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) are first-line treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There have been few direct comparisons of CPT and PE intended to determine their comparative effectiveness, none of which have examined outcomes among military veterans receiving these treatments in a residential setting such as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) residential rehabilitation treatment programs (RRTPs). Such work is essential given that these veterans are among the most complex and severely symptomatic patients with PTSD treated in VA. In this study we compared changes in PTSD and depressive symptoms across admission, discharge, four months and 12 months following discharge among veterans who received CPT or PE within VA RRTPs.
Using linear mixed models conducted on program evaluation data derived from the electronic medical record and follow-up surveys, we compared self-reported PTSD and depressive symptom outcomes among 1130 veterans with PTSD who were treated with individual CPT (n = 832, 73.5%) or PE (n = 297, 26.5%) in VA PTSD RRTPs in fiscal years 2018–2020.
PTSD and depressive symptom severity did not significantly differ at any time points. The CPT and PE groups both showed large-sized reductions in PTSD (CPT d = 1.41, PE d = 1.51) and depression (CPT d = 1.01, PE d = 1.09) from baseline to 12-month follow-up.
Outcomes for PE and CPT do not differ among a highly complex population of veterans with severe PTSD and several comorbid conditions that can make it difficult to engage in treatment.
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure (PE) delivered in an individual setting are efficacious and effective treatments for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Group CPT has been shown to be less efficacious than individual CPT, however, evidence regarding real-world effectiveness is limited.
We conducted a retrospective, observational, comparative effectiveness study including veterans that received at least eight sessions of group CPT, individual CPT, or individual PE, and were discharged from PTSD residential treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs between 1 October 2015, and 30 September 2020. PTSD symptom severity was assessed with the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) and treatments delivered in a group (CPT) or individual (CPT or PE) setting were compared at discharge and 4-month post-discharge follow-up.
Of 6735 veterans, 3888 [653 women (17%), median (IQR) age 45 (35–55) years] received individual and 2847 [206 women (7.2%), median (IQR) age 42 (34–54)] received group therapy. At discharge, improvement in PTSD severity was statistically greater among those treated individually (mean difference on the PCL-5, 2.55 (95% CI 1.61–3.49); p = <0.001]. However, the difference was smaller than the minimal clinically important difference of 7.9 points. The groups did not differ significantly at 4-month follow-up [mean difference on the PCL-5, 0.37 (95% CI −0.86 to 1.60); p = 0.551].
Group CPT was associated with a slightly smaller reduction of PTSD symptom severity than individual CPT or PE in veterans at the end of residential treatment. There were no differences at 4-month follow-up.
Virus outbreaks such as the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic are challenging for health care workers (HCWs), affecting their workload and their mental health. Since both, workload and HCW's well-being are related to the quality of care, continuous monitoring of working hours and indicators of mental health in HCWs is of relevance during the current pandemic. The existing investigations, however, have been limited to a single study period. We examined changes in working hours and mental health in Swiss HCWs at the height of the pandemic (T1) and again after its flattening (T2).
We conducted two cross-sectional online studies among Swiss HCWs assessing working hours, depression, anxiety, and burnout. From each study, 812 demographics-matched participants were included into the analysis. Working hours and mental health were compared between the two samples.
Compared to prior to the pandemic, the share of participants working less hours was the same in both samples, whereas the share of those working more hours was lower in the T2 sample. The level of depression did not differ between the samples. In the T2 sample, participants reported more anxiety, however, this difference was below the minimal clinically important difference. Levels of burnout were slightly higher in the T2 sample.
Two weeks after the health care system started to transition back to normal operations, HCWs' working hours still differed from their regular hours in non-pandemic times. Overall anxiety and depression among HCWs did not change substantially over the course of the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
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