Concussion treatment after combat trauma: development of a telephone based, problem solving intervention for service members

Contemp Clin Trials. 2015 Jan;40:54-62. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2014.11.001. Epub 2014 Nov 8.


Military service members (SMs) and veterans who sustain mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) during combat deployments often have co-morbid conditions but are reluctant to seek out therapy in medical or mental health settings. Efficacious methods of intervention that are patient-centered and adaptable to a mobile and often difficult-to-reach population would be useful in improving quality of life. This article describes a new protocol developed as part of a randomized clinical trial of a telephone-mediated program for SMs with mTBI. The 12-session program combines problem solving training (PST) with embedded modules targeting depression, anxiety, insomnia, and headache. The rationale and development of this behavioral intervention for implementation with persons with multiple co-morbidities is described along with the proposed analysis of results. In particular, we provide details regarding the creation of a treatment that is manualized yet flexible enough to address a wide variety of problems and symptoms within a standard framework. The methods involved in enrolling and retaining an often hard-to-study population are also highlighted.

Keywords: Brain Injury; Concussion; Military; Problem solving training; Telehealth; Telephone intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Brain Concussion / psychology
  • Brain Concussion / therapy*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Headache / psychology
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011*
  • Mental Health
  • Military Personnel*
  • Problem Solving
  • Quality of Life
  • Research Design
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Telephone*