The Center for Social and Community Reintegration Research (SoCRR) addresses a critical goal for the VA: the full reintegration of Veterans in domains identified as central to community participation by the World Health Organization. Specific domains include employment and school, community/social engagement, and interpersonal relationships. SoCRR investigators will conduct research and train post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty investigators to address these reintegration needs for Veterans with psychiatric disabilities. The research will be organized by two important areas of focus: 1) Interventions to Enhance Education/Employment and 2) Interventions to Enhance Family and Social Functioning. For Focus 1, we propose to develop two interventions that support Veterans who are having difficulties maintaining their ongoing employment or education. Both interventions emphasize collaboration between treatment and rehabilitation professionals, and are designed for Veterans in the community rather than in a hospital. Pilot Project 1 focuses on the educational and unmet mental health care needs of returning Veterans on college campuses. The goal is to facilitate awareness and access to treatment for relevant mental and physical health concerns or other rehabilitation needs by providing supported education services that improve educational outcomes. Pilot Project 2 will develop and test the feasibility of a rapid-response vocational service that adapts supported employment principles to help Veterans who are at risk of job loss, with the goal of lengthening employment tenure, and improving vocational functioning and quality of life. For Focus 2, we propose to develop pilot interventions that improve or enhance social and family functioning. Pilot Project 3 will develop and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminry efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Improving Social Support for Veterans with PTSD (ACT-SS). This treatment will help Veterans with PTSD to increase social support in family relationships, partners, and peers by targeting maladaptive patterns of interpersonal difficulties, feelings of detachment from others, irritability, and avoidance of social situations. Pilot Project 4 will develop and test an innovative comprehensive and recovery-oriented intervention for Veterans who use violence in their partner relationships. This intervention provides Veterans with skills to increase healthy coping and communication strategies, education, and provision of wraparound services for mental health conditions such as PTSD and substance abuse. The goal is to eliminate or reduce the use of intimate partner violence and increase relationship satisfaction and quality of life. Underlying both core areas of functioning we also propose a developmental measurement project to address the challenges of measuring the multifaceted concept of community reintegration. This study will develop a comprehensive item database including all relevant measures of community reintegration, as well as measures that reflect the underlying factors associated with this concept (social, emotional, and vocational functioning). Once assembled, the goal will be to revise, choose, and then organize the items into testlets that can be piloted to create a menu of measures to address multiple subareas of community reintegration.
The Center for Social and Community Reintegration Research (SoCRR) brings together a diverse group of VA researchers as a consortium to address the urgent need to build capacity for high quality research in the priority area of community reintegration for Veterans with psychiatric disabilities. Veterans with psychiatric disabilities are often withdrawn from or have difficulty sustaining community involvement because of the effects of their psychiatric disabilities. SoCCR's focus on critical areas of community reintegration, including employment, education, and interpersonal relationships, converge on the central mission of helping Veterans become more engaged in needed treatment that targets reasons for poor community involvement (e.g., difficulty maintaining jobs or education, relationship difficulties, low social support). Overall, SoCCR will serve the emerging focus of VA clinical programming of fostering recovery and community reintegration for Veterans with psychiatric disabilities.