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A pilot of couple HOPES within the U.S. Veterans Affairs Healthcare System: PTSD and relationship outcomes in veteran couples

APA Citation:

Morland, L. A., Wachsman, T., Webster, K., Fitzpatrick, S., Valela, R., Crenshaw, A. O., Monson, C. M., & Knopp, K. C. (2023). A pilot of couple HOPES within the U.S. Veterans Affairs Healthcare System: PTSD and relationship outcomes in veteran couples. Psychological Services. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/ser0000773

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study evaluated the Couple Helping Overcome PTSD and Enhance Satisfaction (Couple HOPES) program, an online couples’ intervention for PTSD based on principles of cognitive behavioral conjoint therapy. 15 Veterans and their partners (N = 30 individuals), recruited from a Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, completed a 30-minute online module and had seven weekly 30-minute virtual meetings with a trained coach. Veterans and partners each reported the Veterans’ posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and their own relationship satisfaction before the 7-week intervention (i.e., baseline), before each weekly module, and after the intervention (i.e., postintervention). Couples also reported their depressive symptoms, positive and negative relationship qualities, and quality of life at baseline and postintervention. Overall, both partners perceived improvements in the Veteran’s PTSD symptoms, as well as their own relationship satisfaction, over the course of the program


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:

Spouse of service member or veteran


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Longitudinal Study
Quantitative Study


Morland, Leslie A., Wachsman, Tamara, Webster, Katelyn, Fitzpatrick, Skye, Valela, Robert, Crenshaw, Alexander O., Monson, Candice M., Knopp, Kayla C.


Conjoint interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) offer an opportunity to target symptoms’ broader social impact, including couples’ relationship satisfaction. Technology-assisted interventions may help overcome access to care barriers for couples. Couple Helping Overcome PTSD and Enhance Satisfaction (HOPES) is a coached internet-based couples’ intervention for PTSD adapted from cognitive behavioral conjoint therapy, an evidence-based dyadic therapy for PTSD. This pilot study examined the implementation feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of Couple HOPES in a sample of 15 United States veterans with PTSD and their romantic partners within a Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center setting. There were significant improvements in veterans’ PTSD symptoms (self- and partner-reported) and both veterans’ and partners’ relationship satisfaction, though the effect sizes were small (all g’s < .40). Importantly, the 73% retention rate and participant feedback at postassessment suggest this online adaptation may help couples overcome barriers to accessing care. More broadly, this pilot study helps answer questions regarding where digital health interventions fit into the continuum of PTSD care within the VA system. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


military veterans, couples, posttraumatic stress disorder, relationship satisfaction, couples therapy, health care administration, psychotherapeutic outcomes

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  October 2023

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