The Importance of Group Cohesion in Inpatient Treatment of Combat-Related PTSD

Carilyn Ellis, George Fox University
Mary Peterson
Rodger Bufford
Jon Benson

Originally published in the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, (2014), Vol. 64, No. 2, pgs. 180-206.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most widespread mental illness resulting from exposure to combat, necessitating an increase in the provision of group therapy. This pilot study examined the efficacy of, and treatment outcome predictors associated with, group inpatient treatment of combat-related PTSD. Participants included 38 active duty military personnel deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), diagnosed with PTSD, and consecutive admissions to an inpatient PTSD treatment facility. A paired samples t-test revealed significant change in symptom severity and global functioning between pre- and post-treatment. Multiple regression analyses supported the predictive utility of baseline symptomatology and group cohesion (> 50% of the variance in treatment outcome), highlighting the importance of group cohesion in the efficacy of group treatment for combat-related PTSD.