A Culturally Adapted Family Intervention for Rural Pacific Island Veterans With PTSD

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Abstract

The Veterans Affairs mission to provide equitable, accessible, and patient-centered care necessitates that culturally appropriate interventions are available when cultural differences may jeopardize engagement in care. However, within the VA, wounded warriors residing in rural areas in the Pacific Islands have been offered interventions that were developed and tested using largely urban mainland populations. The objectives of this article were to (a) document the cultural adaptation of a cognitive-behavioral clinical intervention for use by rural Pacific Island veterans, and (b) report feasibility data for the intervention. The 5-stage Map of the Adaptation Process (assessment, selection, preparation, piloting, and refinement) was used to structure the work. The resultant intervention, called “Koa,” is a multisession family psychoeducational program that integrates selected Pacific Islander values, beliefs, and healing traditions with an empirically based mainstream U.S. intervention. To pilot Koa, rural Pacific Island dyads (28 veterans and 28 family members) participated via video teleconference and completed pre- and post- intervention measures. Outcome data indicated that participants perceived the intervention to be highly acceptable, useful, and relevant. Relationship quality scores substantially improved postintervention as measured by the Dyadic Relationship Scale (95% CI [−10.97, −1.84], t(22) = −2.9, p = .008, d = −0.53 for veterans; 95% CI [−11.06, −2.47], t(21) = −3.28, p = .004, d = −0.68 for family members). Family caregiving burden also improved significantly. The positive results of this investigation support the development of culturally adapted mental health interventions for culturally distinct subgroups of veterans and their families.

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