Expanding a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Couple Internet-Delivered PTSD Intervention to Reach Military Members, Veterans, and First Responders with COVID-19-Related Trauma Exposure

Fitzpatrick, Skye S | $200,000

Ontario York University 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be a severe problem in Canada in the wake of COVID-19, especially for Military Members, Veterans, First Responders, and Healthcare Workers (MVFH). However, gold standard face-to-face PTSD treatments do not meet current MVFH needs, which requires virtual interventions and minimal healthcare resources. Recognizing the need for a virtual, low-resource PTSD intervention for MVFH with PTSD and their loved ones, our team developed Couple HOPES (Helping Overcome PTSD and Enhance Satisfaction). Couple HOPES is a secure, online self-help intervention for those with PTSD and their partners ([www.couplehopes.com](http://www.couplehopes.com)). Our team has already received funding to test if Couple HOPES improves PTSD symptoms, relationship satisfaction, and related outcomes more than a waitlist condition in 70 couples with one member who is a MVFH with PTSD related to any kind of trauma exposure. However, MVFH are now particularly likely to be exposed to traumas related to COVID-19. It is essential to identify if Couple HOPES is safe and helpful for couples involving MVFH with COVID-19-related PTSD specifically. This project will expand our existing RCT to recruit an additional 70 couples wherein one member is a MVFH with COVID-19-related PTSD. We will examine if Couple HOPES is helpful in improving PTSD symptoms and relationship satisfaction for such couples, and if it is more or less helpful to this end for these couples compared to those with other forms of trauma exposure. 140 couples including a MVFH with PTSD, half of which have PTSD as a result of a COVID-19-related trauma, will be randomly assigned to receive Couple HOPES or to a waitlist. PTSD symptoms and relationship satisfaction will be measured ~weekly during the intervention and one month after it. Related problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, healthcare use) will be measured before, in the middle of, after, and one month after, the intervention.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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