A Study Designed to Advance the Delivery of Care for Combat-related PTSD

Research Paper Title

Intensive prolonged exposure therapy for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: Design and methodology of a randomized clinical trial.


Combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most common psychological health condition in military service members and veterans who have deployed to the combat theater since September 11, 2001. One of the highest research priorities for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs is to develop and evaluate the most efficient and efficacious treatments possible for combat-related PTSD.

However, the treatment of combat-related PTSD in military service members and veterans has been significantly more challenging than the treatment of PTSD in civilians. Randomised clinical trials have demonstrated large post-treatment effect sizes for PTSD in civilian populations. However, recent randomised clinical trials of service members and veterans have achieved lesser reductions in PTSD symptoms. These results suggest that combat-related PTSD is unique.

Innovative approaches are needed to augment established evidence-based treatments with targeted interventions that address the distinctive elements of combat-related traumas.

This paper describes the design, methodology, and protocol of a randomised clinical trial to compare two intensive prolonged exposure therapy treatments for combat-related PTSD in active duty military service members and veterans and that can be administered in an acceptable, efficient manner in this population.

Both interventions include intensive daily treatment over a 3-week period and a number of treatment enhancements hypothesised to result in greater reductions in combat-related PTSD symptoms.

The study is designed to advance the delivery of care for combat-related PTSD by developing and evaluating the most potent treatments possible to reduce PTSD symptomatology and improve psychological, social, and occupational functioning.


Peterson, A.L., Foa, E.B., Blount, T.H., McLean, C.P., Shah, D.V., Young-McCaughan, S., Litz, B.T., Schobitz, R.P., Castillo, D.T., Rentz, T.O., Yarvis, J.S., Dondanville, K.A., Fina, B.A., Hall-Clark, B.N., Brown, L.A., DeBeer, B.R., Jacoby, V.M., Hancock, A.K., Williamson, D.E., Evans, W.R., Synett, S., Straud, C., Hansen, H.R., Meyer, E.C., Javors, M.A., Sharrieff, A.M., Lara-Ruiz, J., Koch, L.M., Roache, J.D., Mintz, J., Keane, T.M. & Consortium to Alleviate PTSD. (2018) Intensive prolonged exposure therapy for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: Design and methodology of a randomized clinical trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 72:126-136. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.07.016. [Epub ahead of print].


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