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Self-Reported Cognitive Symptoms in Military Veteran College Students

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An increasing number of military veterans are enrolling in college, primarily due to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides educational benefits to veterans who served on active duty since September 11, 2001. With rigorous training, active combat situations, and exposure

An increasing number of military veterans are enrolling in college, primarily due to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides educational benefits to veterans who served on active duty since September 11, 2001. With rigorous training, active combat situations, and exposure to unexpected situations, the veteran population is at a higher risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and depression. All of these conditions are associated with cognitive consequences, including attention deficits, working memory problems, and episodic memory impairments. Some conditions, particularly mild TBI, are not diagnosed or treated until long after the injury when the person realizes they have cognitive difficulties. Even mild cognitive problems can hinder learning in an academic setting, but there is little data on the frequency and severity of cognitive deficits in veteran college students. The current study examines self-reported cognitive symptoms in veteran students compared to civilian students and how those symptoms relate to service-related conditions. A better understanding of the pattern of self-reported symptoms will help researchers and clinicians determine the veterans who are at higher risk for cognitive and academic difficulties.

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2016-05

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Evaluating brain boosters: a new cognitive enhancement program for treating post-traumatic stress disorder and depression

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ABSTRACT Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and insomnia are prevalent among United States (US) military veterans. This study investigates whether Brain Boosters, a new cognitive enhancement group therapy, improves symptoms of PTSD, depression, and insomnia among veterans completing the groups.

ABSTRACT Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and insomnia are prevalent among United States (US) military veterans. This study investigates whether Brain Boosters, a new cognitive enhancement group therapy, improves symptoms of PTSD, depression, and insomnia among veterans completing the groups. The study population includes 64 US military veterans treated in the setting of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System in Phoenix, AZ. Group members were US military veterans, age 22 to 87 (mean age=53.47), who had served in or after World War II (WWII), who sought mental health care at the Phoenix VA from 2007 through 2011. Participants were treated with Brain Boosters therapy. They completed measures of mental-health related symptoms before and after this therapy. Participants were assessed pre and post group with the PTSD Checklist for military personnel (PCL-M), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9; a measure of depression symptoms), and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI). Statistical analyses were done with paired samples t-tests and McNemar's tests, using SPSS. The hypotheses were that symptoms of PTSD, depression, and insomnia would show statistically significant improvement with Brain Boosters therapy. Results supported the hypotheses that symptoms of PTSD and depression would improve significantly. Insomnia did not show significant improvement. The results showed the mean PCL-M score was 54.84 before Brain Boosters therapy and 51.35 after (p= 0.008). The mean PHQ-9 score was 15.21 before Brain Boosters therapy and 13.05 after (p= 0.002). The mean ISI score was 15.98 before Brain Boosters Therapy and 14.46 after (p= 0.056). Although this is a nonrandom, uncontrolled trial, findings nevertheless suggest that Brain Boosters may be an effective therapy to reduce PTSD symptom severity and depression symptom severity. This may be especially important for veterans seeking alternatives to pharmacological intervention or traditional therapeutic interventions.

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2012

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Latinas coping with intimate partner violence and posttraumatic stress disorder symptomatology

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Previous research indicates that survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) are at a greater risk of developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptomatology. IPV survivors often use maladaptive coping strategies in response to IPV that place them at a higher risk

Previous research indicates that survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) are at a greater risk of developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptomatology. IPV survivors often use maladaptive coping strategies in response to IPV that place them at a higher risk for PTSD. Cultural gender roles/beliefs have been known to influence coping methods. Marianismo, a Latino/a gender role belief, has not been investigated in relation to IPV, coping strategies, and PTSD among Latinas. This study examined whether physical, psychological, or sexual abuse by a romantic partner, coping strategies, and Marianismo were associated with PTSD symptomatology among 157 college-aged Latinas. The participants completed an on-line survey that assessed IPV frequency, disengaged and engaged coping, Marianismo, and PTSD symptomatology. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that, regardless of IPV type, more IPV and disengaged coping strategies were the best predictors of PTSD symptomatology. Marianismo did not significantly moderate the relation between coping and PTSD. However, the strong zero-order correlation between disengaged coping and Marianismo indicated they were highly correlated variables. The study findings are consistent with previous research that suggested that coping strategies are culturally dependent on beliefs and gender role expectations. Latinas may use more disengaged coping strategies because these methods may be deemed more culturally appropriate and reflect Marianismo beliefs. Psychologists working with Latina IPV survivors need to develop culturally sensitive approaches to psychoeducation on IPV and coping strategies that empower these women within their cultural belief systems and reduce their PTSD symptomatology.

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2017