Motivational Interviewing to Engage Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans in Mental Health Treatment

2014-07-23 21:30:27 | BioPortfolio


The goal of this randomized controlled trial is to evaluate the efficacy of telephone-administered motivational interviewing (TAMI) to enhance VA mental health treatment engagement among veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF) who screen positive for mental health disorders on telephone assessment. The investigators will evaluate whether TAMI results in improved mental health treatment engagement, decreased mental health symptoms and increased quality of life among OEF/OIF veterans with mental health disorders. The long-term aim of this study is to conduct rapid assessment and intervention to prevent chronic mental illness and associated disability among our newest generation of veterans.


Project Background/Rationale: Recent reports suggest that a substantial proportion of OEF/OIF veterans suffer from one or more co-occurring mental health disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and substance use disorders. Many newly returning veterans fail to initiate or complete an adequate course of mental health treatment largely owing to barriers that include inherent features of the mental illness, practical and logistical concerns, and stigma. Untreated mental illness threatens to produce functional and occupational disability as occurred with Vietnam-era veterans. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based, client-centered, therapeutic technique shown to enhance mental health treatment engagement in high-risk populations by helping patients explore and resolve barriers to care.

Project Objectives: The aims of this proposal are: (1) to evaluate the efficacy of telephone-administered motivational interviewing (TAMI) compared to telephone-administered informational support sessions (Control) to enhance mental health treatment initiation and retention among OEF/OIF veterans who screen positive for one or more mental health disorders; (2) to compare change in mental health symptoms and quality of life among veterans assigned to TAMI versus Control, and (3) to describe barriers to mental health treatment engagement among OEF/OIF veterans and assess the putative mechanism by which TAMI increases mental health treatment engagement.

Project Methods: The study is a two-arm randomized controlled trial. We will conduct telephone-administered psychometric screening for PTSD, depression, high-risk alcohol and substance use among 1,000 OEF/OIF veterans residing in Northern California. In addition, we will collect baseline data on sociodemographic and military service-related characteristics, VA and non-VA mental health treatment experiences, barriers and motivation to initiate and/or follow-up with VA mental health appointments. Approximately 300 OEF/OIF veterans screening positive for one or more mental health disorders will receive a referral to mental health treatment in their area and will be randomly assigned to either an initial TAMI session followed by two booster TAMI sessions at 1 and 3 months versus three informational support sessions balanced for time and attention. We will measure outcomes at baseline, one, three, and six months. We will test the hypotheses that OEF/OIF veterans receiving TAMI as compared to the Control condition will be more motivated and hence more likely to overcome barriers to initiate and attend follow-up VA mental health treatment appointments and will have greater improvements in mental health symptoms and quality of life.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Screening


Combat Disorders


telephone-administered motivational interviewing (TAMI)


San Francisco VA Medical Center
San Francisco
United States




San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:30:27-0400

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