PS03b – Treatment Approaches and Efficacy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Military Populations: A Meta-Analysis

PS03b – Treatment Approaches and Efficacy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Military Populations: A Meta-Analysis

Saturday, Oct. 21
14:30 – 15:30 (N/A)
Meeting Room: Finback (3rd floor – B Tower)
Jenny Liu*, PhD; Anthony Nazarov, PhD; Bethany Easterbrook, MSc; J. Don Richardson, MD
Supported by the Military and Veterans Section

CanMEDS Roles:

  1. Medical Expert
  2. Scholar
  3. Health Advocate

At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Identify the steps towards conducting a meta-analysis exploring treatment efficacy in military and veteran populations; 2) Determine the relative effectiveness of psychological, pharmacological, alternative, and emerging treatments for military-related post-traumatic stress disorder; and 3) Explore factors that might affect treatment use and efficacy.

Data estimate that up to one in five veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their lifetime. Given the high rates of PTSD in military and veteran populations, providing care with consideration for the characteristics of the population and treatments are of critical importance. This presentation will overview initial findings from a meta-analysis that evaluates the relative effectiveness of treatment approaches for PTSD in military and veteran populations. The pre-registered review is conducted per PRISMA and Cochrane guidelines. A search was conducted with PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Embase, Cinahl, and ProQuest dissertations and theses. After removing duplicates, we screened 12,002 studies for inclusion. The final sample includes data from over 400 studies providing psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and alternative / emerging therapies to treat PTSD. Meta-analytic findings indicate significant heterogeneities in the literature and found that pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies were comparable overall. Finally, results indicate that combining psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy contributed significantly more significant effects than psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy alone. Results confirm the diversity of available treatments for military-related PTSD and the comparability of various treatments and underscore the additive effects of combination therapies. Our work provides a snapshot of current evidence on treatment approaches in military-related PTSD while identifying factors that may influence treatment outcomes. These findings will better inform clinical decision making for service providers and service users and suggest future directions in treatment development and practice recommendations to better support the well-being of military and veteran populations.


  1. Liu J, Nazarov A, Easterbrook B, et al. Four decades of military posttraumatic stress: protocol for a meta-analysis and systematic review of treatment approaches and efficacy. JMIR Res Protoc 2021;10(10):e33151.
  2. Bryant R. Post-traumatic stress disorder: a state-of-the-art review of evidence and challenges. World Psychiatry 2019;18(3):259–269.