Supporting Education Goals of OIF/OEF Veterans with PTSD:Pilot Process & Outcome Goal: The goal of this project is to gather data on feasibility and effect size necessary for a full scale trial of a supported education service for Operation Iraq and Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veterans with PTSD that will contribute to its evidence-base. Supported education is a rehabilitation and recovery based intervention that is new to VHA services and that responds to an expressed but unmet need among these warriors with war- related trauma. We propose to conduct a pilot of a supported education service and employ a process and outcome evaluation. Anticipated Impacts on Veterans Healthcare: Veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) possess educational aspirations. Due to limited education and disability adjustment, many such veterans unsuccessfully locate employment or obtain entry level jobs with limited advancement opportunities. Even with current GI Bill funding increases, veterans experience non-financial barriers to their pursuit of educational goals. Supported education is a strategy developed within the civilian population that facilitates skill, career, and educational goals within post-secondary educational settings. It has been shown to increase educational engagement, participation, and completion, as well as improve empowerment and school efficacy. We hypothesize that supported education tailored to returning Veterans will result in similar outcomes.
Aims and Objectives: The goal of this project is to gather data necessary for a full scale trial of a supported education service for OIF/OEF veterans with PTSD. The following are the aims and objectives:
Aim 1 : Using a randomized controlled design, assess the magnitude of the effect of a supported education service on hours of participation in community educational settings and on acquiring an educational goal. Objective: Assess the number of hours of participation in community education settings and on acquiring an educational goal for 40 Veterans with PTSD who are randomly assigned to an intervention group (N=20) that receives a weekly supported education intervention and a control group that receives services as usual plus an hour of attentive intervention not focused on education.
Aim 2. To examine whether the supported education intervention has secondary effects for improving PTSD symptoms and attitudes on recovery. Objective: Conduct pre- and post- assessments of recovery attitudes and of PTSD symptoms, and then compare the control and intervention group for changes in these scores.
Aim 3. To acquire additional process information on the design and implementation of a supported education service necessary for a successful larger trial. Objective: Conduct a process evaluation of the implementation strategies for: participant recruitment, participant drop-out, technician training procedures, technician recovery promoting competence, and curriculum content and pacing using a standardized assessment, exit interviews, peer notes and study records.
Many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) wish to pursue their education. However, despite current GI Bill funding increases for education, veterans experience non- financial barriers to achieving these goals. We propose that supported education, a strategy developed in the civilian population with mental illness, will facilitate veteran skill, career, and educational goals. This project will gather data necessary for a full scale trial of a supported education service for returning veterans with PTSD. We aim to conduct a randomized controlled pilot of supported education in order to: assess the magnitude of the effect, examine if the service has secondary effects for improving PTSD symptoms and attitudes on recovery, and acquire information on the design and implementation of a supported education service necessary for a larger trial.