Category: Adult Depression / Dysthymia

PS3- #B47 - Examining the Effectiveness of a Group-Based Behavioral Activation Treatment for Depression Among Veterans

Friday, Nov 17
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adult Depression | Treatment-CBT | Veterans

Depression is the second most common mental health problem faced by veterans. Indeed, of the 1.7 million military personnel who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars an estimated 20% suffer from major depression. Although there is strong evidence for the efficacy of certain psychological treatments for depression, many veterans receive treatment after years of impairment or no treatment at all. According to a VA audit, the largest barrier to care, is an acute shortage of mental health care providers. One practical and cost effective solution to solving this access issue, is to increase use of group-based empirically supported treatments.  As such, the purpose of this preliminary investigation was to assess the potential therapeutic benefits of a group-based Brief Behavioral Activation Treatment for Depression (BATD). The sample included 20 veterans presenting to an outpatient Veterans Health Administration clinic for psychological services. Veterans diagnosed with a primary depressive disorder received 10, one-hour group treatment sessions and completed a brief battery of self-report questionnaires pre and post-treatment. Results revealed that there was a statistically significant decrease in depression scores from pre (M = 17.38, SD = 6.08) to post-treatment (M = 10.77, SD = 8.16), t(12)= 3.58, p =.004 (two-tailed). The eta squared statistic (.52) indicated a large effect size. To our knowledge, this study is the first to examine a group-based BATD among veterans. Although more work is needed is to establish the clinical utility of this treatment, it appears to be a time-limited and cost-effective solution to the successful treatment of depression symptoms among veterans.

Amanda Medley Raines

Postdoctoral Fellow
Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System
New Orleans, Louisiana

Margo Villarosa-Hurlocker

Psychology Intern
Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (SLVHCS)

Shannon Hartley

AMH Psychologist
Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

Thomas Hallinan

AMH Psychologist
Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

Holly Mackenna

Psychiatrist
Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

C. Laurel Franklin

MIRECC Site Lead
Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (SLVHCS)