A randomized clinical trial of in-person vs. home-based telemedicine delivery of Prolonged Exposure for PTSD in military sexual trauma survivors

J Anxiety Disord. 2021 Oct:83:102461. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2021.102461. Epub 2021 Aug 8.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common in women who experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Despite Veterans Affairs Medical Center-wide screening and tailored MST services, substantial barriers to care exist, and about 50 % of those who start evidence-based treatment for PTSD drop out prematurely. Home-based telemedicine (HBT) may reduce logistical and stigma related barriers to mental health care, thereby reducing dropout. The current randomized clinical trial (NCT02417025) for women veterans with MST-related PTSD (N = 136) compared the efficacy of HBT delivery of Prolonged Exposure (PE) to in-person delivery of PE on measures of PTSD and depression, as well as on "PE dose" received. Hypotheses predicted that women in the HBT PE group would complete more sessions, and evince greater PTSD and depression symptom reduction compared to in-person PE. Results revealed that there were no differences in dose received or PTSD symptom reduction between in-person and HBT conditions; however, dose (i.e., more sessions) was related to reduced PTSD symptom severity. Future research should examine other factors associated with high PTSD treatment dropout among MST patients.

Keywords: Home-based telemedicine; Military sexual trauma; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Prolonged Exposure; Telemedicine; Treatment dropout.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel*
  • Sexual Trauma
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / therapy
  • Survivors
  • Telemedicine*
  • Veterans*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02417025