Acceptability of prolonged exposure therapy among U.S. Iraq War Veterans with PTSD symptomology

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Despite efforts to increase the availability of prolonged exposure therapy (PE) within the Department of Veterans Affairs, little is known about the acceptability of PE among veteran populations. We queried a sample of 58 U.S. National Guard Iraq War veterans previously deployed to combat who screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as to whether they would prefer PE, treatment with an antidepressant, or no treatment. We also gathered open-ended responses regarding the veterans' reasons for their choice and potential barriers to engaging in that treatment. A majority (53.4%) of veterans who completed the interview said they would choose to participate in PE, 36.2% preferred antidepressant treatment, 8.6% chose no treatment, and 1.8% were unable to choose among the options. Credibility of the treatment rationale and beliefs about the treatment's efficacy were the most frequently given reasons for choosing PE (45.2%); past treatment experience was the most common reason for choosing antidepressant treatment (47.6%). The most commonly cited barrier for those who chose both antidepressant treatment and PE was time to participate (52.4% and 77.4%, respectively). The findings suggest that PE is a credible and acceptable treatment option for veterans with PTSD symptomology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-487
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


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