The psychological effects of a lifestyle management course on war veterans and their spouses

Authors

  • Grant J. Devilly

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Melbourne
    • Dr. Grant Devilly, Department of Criminology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia; e-mail: dev@crim.unimelb.edu.au
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Abstract

This research assessed the effect on a war-veteran outpatient group in a week-long residential lifestyle-management course. This course also included the veterans' partners, and all participants were assessed at intake, post-intervention, and at three- and six-month follow-ups. In summary, it was found that while there was a statistically significant drop in PTSD symptomatology for the veterans, the clinical utility of this improvement was minimal, with an estimated effect size of d = 0.19 by six-month follow-up. However, the veterans displayed a significant decrease in measures of depression, anxiety, and stress by six-month follow-up, all with small-to-moderate effect sizes. Likewise, ratings of anger showed statistically significant improvement with a moderate effect size. While dyadic adjustment displayed a significant improvement to six-month follow-up, the derived effect size was small for the veterans. The spouses (all females in this study) displayed larger effect sizes on all measures, with the exception of ratings of anger, where a small effect was noted. Subjective quality-of-life indices displayed a significant change in the desired direction, although with a minimal effect for the veterans and a small effect size for the females. It was not feasible to have a control group during this naturalistic investigation and, therefore, caution is advised in over-generalizing from these data. However, these results warrant further ‘controlled’ investigation into the inclusion of spouses in the treatment of veterans and the utility of lifestyle-management courses as a first step in the treatment of trauma related problems that have become chronic in nature within the veteran community. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 58: 1119–1134, 2002.

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