Research Article  |   July 2014
High-Intensity Sports for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression: Feasibility Study of Ocean Therapy With Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carly M. Rogers, OTD, OTR/L, is Director of Programs, Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, Manhattan Beach, CA. At the time of the study, she was OTD Candidate, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and Occupational Therapist, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA
  • Trudy Mallinson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, NZROT, is Visiting Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, DC. At the time of the study, she was Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Dominique Peppers, DO, is Physiatrist, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, Seattle, WA. At the time of the study, she was Physiatrist, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA
  • Copyright © 2014 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
Article Information
Mental Health / Military Rehabilitation / Special Issue: Occupational Therapy Research With Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families
Research Article   |   July 2014
High-Intensity Sports for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression: Feasibility Study of Ocean Therapy With Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2014, Vol. 68, 395-404. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.011221
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2014, Vol. 68, 395-404. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.011221
Abstract

In this study, we conducted a pretest–posttest investigation of a sports-oriented occupational therapy intervention using surfing in an experiential, skills-based program to support veterans with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their transition to civilian life. The purpose of this feasibility study was to evaluate the intervention for attendance rates and retention in the program provided in 5 sessions over 5 wk. Fourteen veterans from a specialty postdeployment clinic at a Veterans Affairs hospital were enrolled; 11 completed the study, and 10 attended ≥3 sessions. Participants reported clinically meaningful improvement in PTSD symptom severity (PTSD Checklist—Military Version, Wilcoxon signed rank Z = 2.5, p = .01) and in depressive symptoms (Major Depression Inventory, Wilcoxon signed rank Z = 2.05, p = .04). The results of this small, uncontrolled study suggest that a sports-oriented occupational therapy intervention has potential as a feasible adjunct intervention for veterans seeking mental health treatment for symptoms of PTSD.