MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Lori Davis, MD
Research and Development Service, Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center,
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) interfere with a person’s ability to function at work, making it harder to stay employed and establish oneself in a career. Veterans with PTSD are uniquely challenged given their motivation to serve others, be leaders and not be generally receptive to reaching out for help.
Conventional wisdom about PTSD and employment has traditionally been to first commit to treatment, learn coping skills, manage one’s symptoms and then reintegrate into mainstream employment. However, this view is being transformed by our research that suggests a more assertive recovery-oriented approach to the treatment of PTSD that involves returning to meaningful competitive employment as soon as possible.
This study compared Evidence-based Supported Employment (also known as Individual Placement and Support or IPS) integrated within PTSD treatment teams to the treatment as usual Transitional Work model offered within the VA. This multisite trial demonstrated significantly greater effectiveness of the IPS-supported employment over stepwise, transitional work vocational rehabilitation for Veterans living with chronic PTSD.