Assessing the Structure, Content, and Perceived Social Climate of Residential Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Programs

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This study utilized a comprehensive assessment of program structure, content, and social climate to determine whether specialized residential posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) programs (SIPUs, n = 19) can be differentiated from general psychiatric units (GPUs, n = 18) within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Significant differences between program types were found: SIPUs were more clearly differentiated from the larger hospital system, had more strict patient selection criteria and program regulations, longer length of stays and lower admission rates, and spent more program time on PTSD symptoms and war zone experiences than GPUs. Veterans in the SIPUs (n = 453) rated the programs significantly higher on most social climate measures than veterans with PTSD in the GPUs (n = 153), indicating that veterans perceived these programs as more active, supportive, and better structured.

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