Minimally adequate mental health care and latent classes of PTSD symptoms in female Iraq and Afghanistan veterans

Claire L Hebenstreit, Erin Madden, Kelly H Koo, Shira Maguen
Psychiatry Research 2015 November 30, 230 (1): 90-5
Female veterans of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) represent a growing segment of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care users. A retrospective analysis used national VA medical records to identify factors associated with female OEF/OIF/OND veterans' completion of minimally adequate care (MAC) for PTSD, defined as the completion of at least nine mental health outpatient visits within a 15-week period or at least twelve consecutive weeks of medication use. The sample included female OEF/OIF/OND veterans with PTSD who initiated VA health care between 2007-2013, and were seen in outpatient mental health (N=2183). Multivariable logistic regression models examined factors associated with completing MAC for PTSD, including PTSD symptom expression (represented by latent class analysis), sociodemographic, military, clinical, and VA access factors. Within one year of initiating mental health care, 48.3% of female veterans completed MAC. Race/ethnicity, age, PTSD symptom class, additional psychiatric diagnoses, and VA primary care use were significantly associated with completion of MAC for PTSD. Results suggest that veterans presenting for PTSD treatment should be comprehensively evaluated to identify factors associated with inadequate completion of care. Treatments that are tailored to PTSD symptom class may help to address potential barriers.

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