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Initial group versus individual therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder and subsequent follow-up treatment adequacy.

Sripada RK, Bohnert KM, Ganoczy D, Blow FC, Valenstein M, Pfeiffer PN. Initial group versus individual therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder and subsequent follow-up treatment adequacy. Psychological Services. 2016 Nov 1; 13(4):349-355.

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Accessibility of psychotherapy for individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and retention in treatment are major concerns for the Veterans Health Administration (VA). Group therapy is a common method for improving access to psychotherapy; however, PTSD patients may prefer individual therapy. This study assessed whether initial treatment with individual versus group psychotherapy relates to subsequent psychotherapy adequacy among VA patients with PTSD. The sample consisted of all VA patients who received a new PTSD diagnosis during a subspecialty PTSD clinical team visit in fiscal year 2010. Logistic and negative binomial regression analyses examined the relationship between modality of the first psychotherapy encounter and subsequent number of psychotherapy encounters within 14 weeks. Among 35,144 VA patients who initiated treatment for PTSD, 38% initiated group therapy and 62% initiated individual therapy. Patients who initiated with group therapy received a greater mean number of psychotherapy visits than those who initiated with individual therapy (4.7 vs. 2.8), and were about twice as likely (29.5% vs. 14.2%) to receive a minimally effective dose of 8 or more psychotherapy encounters. Group therapy predicted a greater number of psychotherapy visits (ß = 0.46, SE = .01, p < .001) and greater likelihood of 8 or more sessions of psychotherapy (OR = 2.31, 95% CI [2.19, 2.45], p < .001), after adjusting for differences in demographic characteristics, comorbid conditions, and other service use. Greater treatment adequacy among group therapy participants suggests that these patients have greater access to frequent psychotherapy sessions or are more likely to persist with psychotherapy for PTSD than those treated individually. (PsycINFO Database Record

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