Final Research Report

View this project's final research report.

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Innovative Treatment Options for Underserved, Hard-to-Reach Populations
In a guest blog, Annette Crisanti explains that with training, peer leaders who have recovered from PTSD or substance abuse can deliver group therapy as well as clinicians with master’s degrees. This finding could help ease the burden in underserved areas lacking healthcare professionals.

Journal Citations

Article Highlight: This project, centered in a rural New Mexico area lacking mental health professionals, examined whether using trained peers to lead group therapy classes for patients with substance use disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could be an effective alternative to using health professionals with master’s degrees. As reported in the Community Mental Health Journal, the group who received classes led by trained peers had as much improvement as the group who received classes from the professionals.

Peer-Review Summary

Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also confirms that the research has followed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts who were not members of the research team read a draft report of the research. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. Reviewers do not have conflicts of interest with the study.

The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve how the research team analyzed its results or reported its conclusions. Learn more about PCORI’s peer-review process here.

In response to peer review, Crisanti made changes including

  • Adding quantitative data on the results in the abstract of the report, and providing mean differences and 95 percent confidence intervals for all study results
  • Describing in more detail the ways in which patients and stakeholders were engaged in the research project and how they influenced the implementation of the study
  • Providing a table comparing baseline data in participants who were randomized and did or did not attend the first treatment session. The research team also described conversations with patient and stakeholder partners that led them to decide to analyze data only from those individuals who completed the first treatment session.
  • Clarifying the potential limitations to the study data on substance abuse
  • Elaborating on the clinical significance of the PCL (a measure of PTSD symptoms) and SF-36 (measure of general health status) outcomes
  • Clarifying that the study was designed to test noninferiority rather than the equivalence of the peer-led intervention and the clinician-led intervention.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Project Information

Annette Crisanti, PhD
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Patient-Centered Trauma Treatment for PTSD and Substance Abuse: Is It an Effective Treatment Option?

Key Dates

May 2013
February 2018

Study Registration Information


Has Results
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Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 4, 2022