Purpose: Women veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom [OEF/OIF]) have a moderately higher risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than male veterans. However, gender disparities in treatment engagement may prevent women veterans from initiating the care they need. Understanding gender differences in predictors of and barriers to treatment is essential to improving engagement and mental health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences in treatment utilization after a brief, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention among male and female OEF/OIF veterans. Methods: Participants were assigned randomly to either the intervention or control conditions. Intervention participants received the telephone-based CBT intervention. Participants were 35 female and 238 male OEF/OIF veterans who screened positive for PTSD and had never initiated PTSD treatment. Participants were asked about treatment utilization, beliefs about PTSD treatment, and symptoms at months 1, 3, and 6 months subsequent to the baseline telephone assessment. The PTSD Checklist-Military Version was used to assess PTSD and the Patient's Health Questionnaire was used to assess symptoms of depression. Findings: Female veterans who received an intervention were significantly more likely to have attended treatment over the 6-month follow-up period than male veterans who received an intervention (χ2 = 7.91; df = 3; odds ratio, 3.93; p = .04). Conclusions: The CBT intervention may be a critical mechanism to engage female veterans in treatment. Further research is needed to understand how to engage male veterans with PTSD in treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Maternity and Midwifery