Veterans at two VA medical centers were prescreened by their providers for participation in an open trial of multifamily group treatment for TBI. Enrollment was limited to consenting veterans with a clinical diagnosis of TBI sustained during the Operation Enduring Freedom–Operation Iraqi Freedom era, a family member or partner consenting to participate, and a score ≥20 on the Mini-Mental State Examination. The nine-month trial consisted of individual family sessions, an educational workshop, and bimonthly multifamily problem-solving sessions. Interpersonal functioning and symptomatic distress among veterans and family burden, empowerment, and symptomatic distress among families were assessed before and after treatment.
Researchers at the VA Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center in New York and other institutions found that treatment was associated with statistically significant decreased veteran anger expression and increased social support and occupational activity. Additionally, caregivers reported decreased burden and increased empowerment. “The results supported implementation of a randomized controlled trial, building in education at the provider and family level,” the researchers stated.
The Psychiatric Services study is here. More information on TBI is found in American Psychiatric Publishing's Management of Adults With Traumatic Brain Injury. Also see Psychiatric News here.