The ongoing wars in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom or OEF) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom or OIF) make the development and application of effective postdeployment mental health treatment programs a high priority. There has been some concern that existing treatment programs for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may not fit well with OEF/OIF veterans confronted with acute mental health difficulties while reestablishing community, familial, and occupational connections after their deployment. This study utilized data gathered from a large outpatient Veterans Affairs Medical Center PTSD treatment clinic to examine differences in initial treatment presentation and treatment adherence (attendance and dropout) between a group of Vietnam era veterans (n = 54) and a group of OEF/OIF veterans (n = 106). OEF/OIF veterans reported lower levels of symptom distress on questionnaires assessing posttraumatic reexperiencing, avoidance, dissociation, and arousal symptoms but similar levels of anger and acting out behaviors and higher levels of alcohol problems. OEF/OIF veterans had significantly lower rates of session attendance and higher rates of treatment dropout than Vietnam veterans, and this difference was not accounted for by differences in treatment presentation.
- Iraq/Afghanistan combat veterans
- Vietnam combat veterans
- posttraumatic stress disorder
- treatment adherence