Table 1Summary of inclusion and exclusion criteria

Study characteristicInclusion criteriaExclusion criteria
Study designKQs 1–3: RCTs
KQ 4: Other study designs when no RCTs were identifieda
Non–English language publication
Non–peer-reviewed publication
PopulationAdults ≥ 19 diagnosed with PTSD using DSM criteria, validated severity measures (e.g., PTSD checklist), or clinical diagnosis
Patients in acute-phase treatment (i.e., not selected for treatment-resistant PTSD)
Patients with complicated PTSD or acute suicidality
Studies with eligibility criteria requiring a diagnosis of PTSD comorbid with another mental or physical illness (e.g., PTSD and substance abuse)
InterventionsAny of the following eligible treatments: Interventions used in a continuation or maintenance phase
Dietary supplements
Standard psychotherapies (e.g., prolonged exposure) and extensions of these therapies (e.g., mindfulness-based cognitive therapy)
Relaxation used as a control arm or reported without describing the key components
ComparatorsStudies comparing an eligible treatment to a control condition such as usual care (including no treatment), supportive therapy, attention control, sham intervention, or a waitlist
Studies comparing an eligible treatment to an empirically based treatment, prolonged exposure, cognitive processing therapy, or antidepressant medication
OutcomesChange in level of PTSD symptoms (i.e., on self- report and/or clinician-administered measures, including remission rates) or change in quality of life (i.e., functional status and health-related quality of life)
Social functioning, patient satisfaction with treatment, treatment adherence/retention (e.g., proportion of prescribed sessions that are completed, completion of between-session assignments), and adverse treatment effects
Reported at ≥ 6 weeks after treatment initiation
SettingPatients recruited from community or outpatient mental health or general medical settingsStudies conducted outside North America, Western Europe, Australia, or New Zealand. Studies conducted outside of these countries were unlikely to be applicable to VA populations because of important differences in culture and health care systems.

The eligibility criteria for nonrandomized controlled trials matched the criteria for KQs 1–3 except for study design. For each intervention that lacked eligible RCTs, we included prospective studies (nonrandomized controlled trials, controlled before-and-after studies, and prospective cohort studies and case series).

Abbreviations: DSM = Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, PTSD = posttraumatic stress disorder, RCT = randomized controlled trial, VA = Veterans Affairs


Cover of Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder [Internet].
Strauss JL, Coeytaux R, McDuffie J, et al.
Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs (US); 2011 Aug.

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