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Psychiatr Q. 2006 Spring;77(1):55-67.

Treatment of female veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: the role of comfort in a predominantly male environment.

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  • 1PTSD Evaluations, Northeast Program Evaluation Center and Research Scientist in Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


This study examines the role of women's comfort in coming for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in a predominantly male environment. Consecutive admissions (N = 224) to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)'s Women's Stress Disorder Treatment Teams were enrolled in an outcome study from July 1998 through June 2000. Women reported that they were somewhat comfortable in coming to the VA for their mental health care. For women who had no prior experience with the VA, comfort increased with their exposure to the treatment program. Further, for this group of women, comfort level was related significantly to their commitment to working in therapy and the regularity of their attendance in treatment over time. There were no significant changes in comfort level for women who had prior contact with the VA. Comfort level was unrelated to satisfaction and only minimally related to clinical outcomes. The primary role of women's comfort level, therefore, appeared to be as a facilitator of their participation in the therapeutic process.

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