Behavioural Health Providers & Post-Deployment Assessment

Research Paper Title

Testing the effects of using a behavioural health provider to deliver a routine post-deployment assessment for soldiers returning from combat.

Abstract

Studies indicate that changes in post-deployment behavioural health care delivery are necessary to improve symptom-reporting and treatment-seeking.

Methods

The present study compared two behavioural health strategies implemented during the Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) with soldiers within the first months of returning from a combat deployment. A quasi-experimental, longitudinal study compared soldiers (N = 1,612) interviewed by a behavioural health (BH) provider and soldiers (N = 1,326) interviewed by a primary care provider using the standard PDHA procedure. Surveys pre- and post-PDHA and four months later assessed treatment-seeking attitudes; PDHA data and BH clinic use were compiled and compared by each interview strategy.

Results

Soldiers interviewed by a BH provider rated interview usefulness, quality, and comfort reporting BH concerns more positively than soldiers interviewed by a primary care provider using the standard procedure. However, there were no differences in treatment-seeking attitudes, provider referral rates, or use of BH services in the 4 months after the PDHA.

Conclusions

Although there were initial positive reports of the interview with the BH Provider, there was no evidence BH provider interviews resulted in any lasting improvements in treatment-seeking or long-term treatment attitudes.

Reference

Britt, T.W., Wright, K.M., Sipos, M.L. & McGurk, D. (2018) Testing the effects of using a behavioral health provider to deliver a routine post-deployment assessment for soldiers returning from combat. Psychological Services. doi: 10.1037/ser0000266. [Epub ahead of print].

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