Treatment adherence in cognitive processing therapy for combat-related PTSD with history of mild TBI

Jeremy J Davis, Kristen H Walter, Kathleen M Chard, R Bruce Parkinson, Wes S Houston
Rehabilitation Psychology 2013, 58 (1): 36-42

OBJECTIVE: This retrospective study examined treatment adherence in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) with and without history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

METHOD: Medical record review of consecutive referrals to an outpatient PTSD clinic identified veterans diagnosed with combat-related PTSD who began treatment with CPT. The sample (N = 136) was grouped according to positive (n = 44) and negative (n = 92) mTBI history. Groups were compared in terms of presenting symptoms and treatment adherence.

RESULTS: The groups were not different on a pretreatment measure of depression, but self-reported and clinician-rated PTSD symptoms were higher in veterans with history of mTBI. The treatment completion rate was greater than 61% in both groups. The number of sessions attended averaged 9.6 for the PTSD group and 7.9 for the mTBI/PTSD group (p = .05).

IMPLICATIONS: Given the lack of marked group differences in treatment adherence, these initial findings suggest that standard CPT for PTSD may be a tolerable treatment for OEF/OIF veterans with a history of PTSD and mTBI as well as veterans with PTSD alone.

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