Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 77, No. 1, Spring 2006 (
TREATMENT OF FEMALE VETERANS WITH
POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: THE
ROLE OF COMFORT IN A PREDOMINANTLY
Alan Fontana, Ph.D. and Robert Rosenheck, M.D.
This study examines the role of women’s comfort in coming for treatment
of posttraumatic stress disorder in a predominantly male environment. Con-
secutive admissions (N = 224) to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s
Women’s Stress Disorder Treatment Teams were enrolled in an outcome study
from July 1998 through June 2000. Women reported that they were some-
what comfortable in coming to the VA for their mental health care. For women
who had no prior experience with the VA, comfort increased with their ex-
posure to the treatment program. Further, for this group of women, comfort
level was related signiﬁcantly to their commitment to working in therapy and
the regularity of their attendance in treatment over time. There were no sig-
niﬁcant changes in comfort level for women who had prior contact with the
VA. Comfort level was unrelated to satisfaction and only minimally related
to clinical outcomes. The primary role of women’s comfort level, therefore,
Alan Fontana, Ph.D., is Director of PTSD Evaluations, Northeast Program Evaluation
Center and Research Scientist in Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine.
Robert Rosenheck, M.D., is Director, Northeast Program Evaluation Center and
Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine.
Address correspondence to Alan Fontana, Ph.D., NEPEC (182); VA Connecticut Health-
care System–West Haven Campus; 950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516; e-mail:
2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.