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With a focus on learning, we employ a range of strategies to support innovation, collaboration across centers, and university-wide discussion and decision-making

 

Fifteenth Annual Grant Winners 2014-2015

Title

Pilot Study of a Health Intervention for Women with PTSD

Dean

Karen Grosby, Ed.D. (CPS)
Don Rosenblum, Ph.D. (FAR)

Faculty and Students

Jeffrey Kibler, Ph.D. (CPS)
Mindy Ma, Ph.D. (FAR)
Steven Gold, Ph.D. (CPS)
Hillary Howrey, MS (CPS)
Dyona Augustin, MS (CPS)
Rebecca Lewis, B.S. (CPS)
Morgan Levy, B.S. (CPS)

Abstract

The need for developing effective cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention programs for women impacted by psychological trauma is increasingly evident. Women who are significantly affected by psychological trauma are at higher risk for CVD, possibly due to health risk behaviors that are associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although the prevalence of PTSD is twice as high among women, and women are more likely to develop chronic PTSD after a trauma exposure, the majority of studies addressing cardiovascular risk associated with PTSD have been conducted with male veterans. Therefore additional research is needed for civilians suffering from PTSD, particularly for women, to examine programs that may reduce health risk behaviors and prevent early onset of CVD. The primary goal of the present study is to examine whether a treatment program focused on healthy lifestyle behaviors (physical activity, good nutrition, sleep hygiene) and stress management will be associated with reductions in the levels of CVD risk variables (e.g., body weight, lipids, blood pressure) among women with chronic PTSD and least one of the targeted health risks. Outcomes in the intervention program will be contrasted with those of a no-treatment control group. Quality of life is significantly disrupted in PTSD. Quality of life, particularly health-related quality of life, may be associated with health behaviors that are not addressed with standard psychotherapies for PTSD. Therefore, a secondary objective of the present study is to examine whether the intervention is associated with increases in the general quality of life and health related quality of life for women with PTSD. Results of the proposed project will assist in evaluating whether targeting health behaviors as a novel component of PTSD treatment aids in reducing CVD risk and enhancing quality of life.