HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Treatment experiences among LGBT veterans with discrimination-based trauma exposure: A pilot study

Article

This study examines the experiences of LGBT veterans who seek treatment for PTSD. The paper seeks to understand the discrimination they may face, where they seek care, and whether they are satisfied with their level of care.

Abstract

Past research suggests that rates of trauma exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are elevated among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) veterans compared to heterosexual and cisgender veterans. Given higher rates of trauma exposure and PTSD, and the culture associated with the Department of Defense’s history of policies excluding LGBT people, it is important to understand if LGBT veterans are seeking PTSD treatment following discrimination-based traumatic events, where they seek care, and if they are satisfied with treatment. This study aimed to describe the experiences of discrimination-based trauma-exposed LGBT veterans’ (n = 47) experiences with PTSD treatment, including location of treatment (Veterans Health Administration [VHA] versus non-VHA) and satisfaction with care. The majority of veterans had received a PTSD diagnosis from a health-care provider in their lifetimes (78.72%, n = 37), and over half reported currently experiencing PTSD symptoms. Approximately 47% of LGBT veterans with discrimination-based trauma histories preferred to seek PTSD treatment exclusively at VHA (46.81%) or with a combination of VHA and non-VHA services (38.30%). Veterans who received PTSD treatment exclusively from VHA reported higher satisfaction ratings (7.44 on 0–9 scale) than veterans who received PTSD treatment exclusively from outside VHA (5.25 on 0–9 scale). For veterans who sought PTSD treatment at both VHA and non-VHA facilities, there were no significant differences regarding satisfaction ratings for their PTSD treatment in the two settings. Results are discussed in terms of VHA’s continued efforts to establish equitable, patient-centered health care for all veterans and the importance of non-VHA facilities to recognize veteran identities.

Full Reference

Shipherd, J C. ; Ruben, M A. ; Livingston, N A ; Curreri, A ; Skolnik, A A. (2018). Treatment experiences among LGBT veterans with discrimination-based trauma exposure : A pilot study, Journal of trauma & dissociation, Vol: 19 (4), p.461-75.