Preliminary evaluation of PTSD Coach, a smartphone app for post-traumatic stress symptoms

Mil Med. 2014 Jan;179(1):12-8. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-13-00271.


PTSD Coach is a mobile application (app) designed to help individuals who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms better understand and self-manage their symptoms. It has wide-scale use (over 130,000 downloads in 78 countries) and very favorable reviews but has yet to be evaluated. Therefore, this study examines user satisfaction, perceived helpfulness, and usage patterns of PTSD Coach in a sample of 45 veterans receiving PTSD treatment. After using PTSD Coach for several days, participants completed a survey of satisfaction and perceived helpfulness and focus groups exploring app use and benefit from use. Data indicate that participants were very satisfied with PTSD Coach and perceived it as being moderately to very helpful with their PTSD symptoms. Analysis of focus group data resulted in several categories of app use: to manage acute distress and PTSD symptoms, at scheduled times, and to help with sleep. These findings offer preliminary support for the acceptability and perceived helpfulness of PTSD Coach and suggest that it has potential to be an effective self-management tool for PTSD. Although promising, future research is required to validate this, given study limitations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Self Care
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • United States
  • Veterans / psychology*