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Psychiatry Res. 2018 Sep;267:420-428. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.06.045. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Spiritually integrated care for PTSD: A randomized controlled trial of "Building Spiritual Strength".

Author information

1
Minneapolis VA Health Care System, One Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN, USA; University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA. Electronic address: jeanette.harris2@va.gov.
2
Minneapolis VA Health Care System, One Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN, USA; Center for Veterans Research and Education, Minneapolis, MN, USA; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
3
St. Cloud VA Medical Center, St. Cloud, MN, USA.
4
Minneapolis VA Health Care System, One Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN, USA; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
5
University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA.
6
Minneapolis VA Health Care System, One Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN, USA; University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Abstract

Previous literature documents important cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between spiritual distress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) outcomes. This study tests the efficacy of a spiritually integrated intervention "Building Spiritual Strength" (BSS) that can be delivered by trained chaplains. The intervention addresses spiritual concerns expressed by trauma survivors, including concerns in relationship with a Higher Power, difficulty with forgiveness, and theodicy. In a randomized controlled trial with blinded assessment, veterans were randomized to engage in a BSS condition (n = 71) or Present Centered Group Therapy (PCGT; control) condition (n = 67) with assessments at baseline, posttreatment, and a two-month follow up. Both groups showed similar, statistically significant reductions in symptoms of PTSD as measured by the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). BSS was shown to be more effective than PCGT in treating distress in relationship with a Higher Power. This was the second clinical trial of BSS with promising results and highlights the need for further study in psychospiritual interventions. More research is warranted on BSS being offered by non-specialized chaplains and on the application of BSS in suicide prevention.

KEYWORDS:

Moral injury; PTSD; Randomized controlled trial; Spiritual distress; Spirituality; Spiritually integrated care; Trauma; Veterans

PMID:
29980120
DOI:
10.1016/j.psychres.2018.06.045
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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