Military Health Provider Training and Evaluation of a Problem-Solving Intervention to Reduce Distress and Enhance Readiness Among Service Members.

Abstract:

INTRODUCTION:Department of Defense (DoD) has identified problem-solving training (PST) as a promising prevention/early intervention for mental health disorders. PST is a four-session group intervention that emphasizes building problem-solving and coping skills to mitigate emotional dysregulation and the adverse effects of stressful events. It was adapted from problem-solving therapy, which is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral approach that has shown effectiveness with treating depression and managing suicide risk. The current evaluation examined a pilot program that: (1) trained DoD providers in the delivery of PST, (2) conducted PST intervention groups with active duty personnel, and (3) developed PST master trainers to train other providers. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Clinical (e.g., psychologists) and non-clinical (e.g., chaplains) providers attended a 2.5-day workshop of didactic coursework and experiential training on conducting PST, with a subset of providers selected to attend an additional workshop to become master trainers in PST. Providers (n = 82) who attended a PST Facilitator Workshop completed pre- and post-workshop assessments of self-efficacy in PST skills. Eight providers evaluated a Master Trainer Workshop. After completing workshop training, providers conducted PST intervention groups with service members (n = 435), who were experiencing distress, with or without a mental health diagnosis, and whose needs were appropriate for a prevention/resiliency-based skills group. Service members completed the following pre- and post-PST group outcome measures: (a) Outcome Questionnaire-30 (OQ-30) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) as measures of distress; and (b) Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) to assess resilience, which contributes to readiness. They also completed the Social Problem Solving Inventory-Revised: Short Form (SPSI-R:S), as a process measure for the intervention. The SPSI-R:S, which assesses how individuals cope when faced with problems, includes the following subscales: (1) positive problem orientation, (2) negative problem orientation, (3) rational problem-solving, (4) impulsivity/carelessness style, and (5) avoidance style. Service members also completed a post-group evaluation of PST. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, paired sample t-tests, and correlational analyses. RESULTS:Providers showed pre- to post-facilitator workshop increases in self-efficacy of PST skills (all p < 0.001) and those selected as master trainers evaluated their workshop training favorably, particularly the role-playing exercises. Analyses of pre- vs. post-PST group intervention measures among service members indicated that OQ-30 and PHQ-9 scores declined, while BRS and SPSI-R:S total scores increased (all p < 0.001). In addition, correlational analyses of change scores showed that the SPSI-R:S subscales negative problem orientation and avoidance style were negatively correlated with BRS and positively correlated with OQ-30 and PHQ-9 (all p < 0.001). Service members gave positive post-group evaluations of PST effectiveness and program materials. CONCLUSION:DoD providers reported increased self-efficacy in skills required for the delivery of a four-session PST group intervention after participating in a pilot program of training workshops. The pilot of the PST group intervention showed an association with improvements on service members' self-reported measures related to distress, readiness, and coping. In addition, changes in problem-solving measures were associated with changes in outcome measures. Follow-on research is needed to further investigate if PST is effective in preventing more severe forms of distress.

journal_name

Mil Med

journal_title

Military medicine

authors

Cooper DC,Bates MJ

doi

10.1093/milmed/usy229

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2019-05-01 00:00:00

pages

e303-e311

issue

5-6

eissn

0026-4075

issn

1930-613X

pii

5106692

journal_volume

184

pub_type

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