Evaluation of brief treatment of symptoms of psychological trauma among veterans residing in a homeless shelter by use of Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Kevin E. Kip, Rita F. D'Aoust, Diego F. Hernandez, Sue Ann Girling, Barrett Cuttino, Mary Kathryn Long, Paola Rojas, Trudy Wittenberg, Alisha Abhayakumar, Laney Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is prevalent in both homeless and nonhomeless veterans. Purpose To examine unique characteristics of being homeless that may influence PTSD treatment completion and clinical success. Methods Twenty-three veterans who were homeless and residing in a homeless shelter, along with 94 veterans from the community, were enrolled to receive one to five sessions of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), an emerging trauma-focused therapy for symptoms of PTSD. Rates of treatment completion with ART and acute and 6-month change in symptoms of PTSD were compared in an observational (nonrandomized) manner by housing status. Findings Compared to veterans recruited from the community, veterans residing in the homeless shelter were older and presented with more extensive psychopathology yet had less combat exposure while being more likely to have experienced sexual assault. Rates of treatment completion were 52.2% (12 of 23) among homeless veterans compared to 81.9% (77 of 94) among veterans from the community (p =.005). Among treatment completers, both groups received an average of four sessions of ART. Reduction of symptoms of PTSD was substantial and nonsignificantly greater among homeless veterans vs. those treated from the community (p = .14), as were comorbidity reductions in depression, anxiety, sleep quality, pain, and improved quality of life. Results at 6-month posttreatment follow-up were similar. Conclusions Although limited by small sample size and a nonrandomized design, ART appears to be an effective, brief treatment for symptoms of PTSD among veterans residing in a homeless shelter. However, development of effective strategies to maximize treatment completion among homeless veterans is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-423
Number of pages13
JournalNursing outlook
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Brief treatment
  • Eye movements
  • Military homelessness
  • PTSD
  • Psychological trauma
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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