Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is prevalent among users of the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. Effective approaches to involving family in care for PTSD are critical because family functioning both affects and is affected by treatment outcomes. Although multifamily group treatment is an evidence-based practice for schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses, no data have been published on its effectiveness for those living with PTSD and their family members. This study examined the impact of participation in REACH (Reaching out to Educate and Assist Caring, Healthy Families), an adaptation of the multifamily group psychoeducation program tailored for delivery to veterans with PTSD and their family members. One hundred veterans with PTSD and 96 family members who participated in the 9-month, 3-phase clinical program between 2006 and 2010 also participated in this longitudinal evaluation. Veterans showed significant (p <.05) improvements over time on all measures (empowerment, family problem solving and communication, relationship satisfaction, social support, symptom status, knowledge of PTSD, self-efficacy in coping with PTSD, and quality of life). Family members showed similar statistically significant improvements on most measures. Changes over time in individual participants' relationship satisfaction, social support, symptom status, and quality of life were attributable to changes in program-targeted knowledge and skills. Study results suggest that multifamily group psychoeducation is useful in treatment of PTSD, leading to increases in targeted PTSD knowledge and skills, as well as improving family functioning and symptom status for both veterans and family members. Implications for clinicians and recommendations for further evaluation of this promising intervention are described.
- Family psychoeducation
- Multiple family groups