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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Evaluating the Effects of a Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Insomnia: A Pilot Study

September, 2013
Article:

This dissertation evaluates a pilot study to investigate the feasibility and efficacy of a combined CBT-I and IRT protocol intervention for insomnia and nightmares delivered in a group format to a sample of mixed theater veterans with PTSD.

Abstract

Combat and war zone veterans are particularly vulnerable to developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the increased risk of experiencing trauma inherent in military service. Insomnia and nightmares are core symptoms of PTSD and can be factors in the development, maintenance, and exacerbation of PTSD. However, sleep disturbance has received relatively little attention from a treatment point of view until recently. Recent research has demonstrated that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) for nightmares are effective stand alone and combination treatments for sleep disturbance in civilian and veteran populations. Although group interventions are lower in cost and more efficient to deliver in a VA setting, studies have yet to test the feasibility and efficacy of group CBT-I/IRT combination treatment for veterans with PTSD. The current pilot study investigated the feasibility and efficacy of a combined CBT-I and IRT protocol intervention for insomnia and nightmares delivered in a group format to a sample of mixed theater veterans with PTSD. Participants (n = 34) were randomly assigned to either a treatment (n = 17) or waitlist control condition (n = 17). After baseline assessment, participants assigned to the treatment condition participated in six ninety-minute weekly group sessions of combined CBT-I and IRT and completed posttreatment and two month follow-up assessments. Those in the waitlist condition completed a six week waiting period. After completing post-waitlist assessment, they were given the opportunity to receive the treatment and 12 participants elected to cross over.

Full Reference

Mack, L. (2013). Evaluating the Effects of a Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Insomnia: A Pilot Study. Doctoral thesis, Virginia Commonwealth University.

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