A Novel Cognitive Remediation Intervention for Public Safety Personnel with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Year two

Urgent calls exist to address the mounting crisis of mental illness, and in particular posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among public safety personnel (PSP; e.g., firefighters, police, paramedics) in Canada. Critically, PTSD is associated with alterations in cognitive functioning (e.g., poor memory and attention) that disrupt the ability of PSP to engage in activities such as work and family life. To date, however, no evidence-based treatment intervention exists to address cognitive dysfunction among PSP with PTSD. The objective of the current proposal is to examine potential durable improvements in cognitive and functional outcomes (e.g., return to work, family interactions) in PSP via Goal Management Training (GMT). GMT is a remediation strategy with demonstrated efficacy in improving cognitive function across a host of neurological conditions and healthy aging. This includes medium to large effect sizes (r = 0.45-0.69) on memory, attention, and complex reasoning observed in a small pilot study conducted by the proposed project supervisor’s laboratory (McKinnon) among severely ill inpatients (including PSP) with PTSD. A larger scale randomized control trial will inform the development of an evidence-based treatment that can assist in reducing the substantial disability and societal loss associated with PTSD among PSP.

Krysta Andrews
Faculty Supervisor: 
Margaret McKinnon
Partner University: