Exposure therapy; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Traumatic brain injury
Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn are presenting for treatment with high rates of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), spurring a need for clinical research on optimal treatment strategies. While exposure therapy has long been supported as an efficacious treatment for combat-related PTSD, some clinicians are hesitant to utilize this treatment for veterans with TBI history due to presumed cognitive deficits that may preclude successful engagement. The purpose of this study was to compare exposure therapy process variables in veterans with PTSD only and veterans with PTSD+TBI. Results suggest that individuals with PTSD+TBI engage successfully in exposure therapy, and do so no differently than individuals with PTSD only. Additional analyses indicated that regardless of TBI status, more severe PTSD was related to longer sessions, more sessions, and slower extinction rate during imaginal exposure. Finally, in a subset of participants, self-report of executive dysfunction did not impact exposure therapy process variables. Overall, findings indicate that exposure therapy should be the first-line treatment for combat-related PTSD regardless of presence of TBI history.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Ragsdale, Kathleen, "The Effect of Traumatic Brain Injury on Exposure Therapy in Veterans with Combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1244.