The Effect of Social Support Skill‑training Group Intervention on Perceived Social Support in Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Masoud Sirati‑Nir, Morteza Khaghanizade, Abolfazl Rahimi, Mohammad Khazaei, Fataneh Ghadirian


Background: Traumatic events related to war have long effects on psychiatric psychopathologies. From these disturbing conditions, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is considered to be the most characteristic feature of psychiatric traumatic experience. The current study was designed to assess the effect of two social support skill‑training group interventions on perceived social support in veterans with PTSD.

 Materials and Methods: The study was conducted with the clinical trial method. According to the inclusion criteria, 60 of 367 veterans with PTSD were selected and randomly allocated into two intervention groups and a control group. The two training programs on social support skills consisting of three sessions, each being 1.5–2 h, were held weekly for 3 weeks. The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support was filled by samples before and 6 weeks after intervention. The data were analyzed by descriptive and analytical statistics using PASW Statistics 18.

Results: The ANOVA results showed that after intervention, there were significant differences in perceived social support between intervention groups and control group (F = 1.06, p = 0.001), but there was no significant difference between intervention groups by t‑test (t = 28.05, p < 0.10). The paired t‑test showed a significant difference in all subscale scores of perceived social support between two intervention groups before and after intervention (p < 0.05).

 Conclusions: The results of the current study agreed with the positive effects of social support skill training on perceived social support in veterans with PTSD. It is suggested that these training courses should be included in the community re‑entry programs of veterans with PTSD.



Iran, posttraumatic stress disorder, social support, stress disorder, veterans

Full Text:



Ginzburg K, Ein‑Dor T, Solomon Z. Comorbidity of posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression: A 20‑year longitudinal study of war veterans. J Affect Disord 2010;123:249‑57.

Bryant RA, Friedman MJ, Spiegel D, Ursano R, Strain J. A review of acute stress disorder in DSM‑5. Depress Anxiety 2011;28:802‑17.

Dekel R, Monson CM. Military‑related post‑traumatic stress disorder and family relations: Current knowledge and future directions. Aggress Violent Behav 2010;15:303‑9.

Taft CT, Watkins LE, Stafford J, Street AE, Monson CM. Posttraumatic stress disorder and intimate relationship problems: A meta‑analysis. J Consult Clin Psychol 2011;79:22.

Laffaye C, Cavella S, Drescher K, Rosen C. Relationships among PTSD symptoms, social support, and support source in veterans with chronic PTSD. J Trauma Stress 2008;21:394‑401.

Clapp JD, Beck JG. Understanding the relationship between PTSD and social support: The role of negative network orientation. Behav Res Ther 2009;47:237‑44.

Gottlieb BH, Bergen AE. Social support concepts and measures. J Psychosom Res 2010;69:511‑20.

Doss BD, Mitchell A, Georgia EJ, Biesen JN, Rowe LS. Improvement in closeness, communication, and psychological distress mediate effects of couple therapy for veterans. J Consult Clin Psychol 2015;83:405.

Hogan BE, Linden W, Najarian B. Social support interventions: Do they work? Clin Psychol Rev 2002;22:381‑440.

Tedeschi RG, McNally RJ. Can we facilitate posttraumatic growth in combat veterans? Am Psychol 2011;66:19.

Karlin BE, Ruzek JI, Chard KM, Eftekhari A, Monson CM, Hembree EA, et al. Dissemination of evidence‑based psychological treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder in the Veterans Health Administration. J Trauma Stress 2010;23:663‑73.

Mikaeili N, Molavi P, Einy S, Tagavy R. Effectiveness of Emotion Focused Therapy on Emotional Dysregulation, Hopelessness and Suicidal Ideation in Post‑Traumatic Stress Disorder Veterans. Iran J War Public Health 2017;9:111‑7.

Mallahi M, Niknejadi F. Effectiveness of Positive Thinking Skills on Improving the Situation of Fathering Behavior, Conversation and Anger in Relation of Daughters and their Veteran Fathers. Iran J War Pub Health 2017;9:1‑7.

Chenari R, Nourozi A, Tahmasbi R. The relationship between perceived social support and health promoting behaviours in chemical veterans at Ilam during 2013‑2014. Iran J War Pub Health 2014;6:1‑10.

Canty‑Mitchell J, Zimet GD. Psychometric properties of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support in urban adolescents. Am J Community Psychol 2000;28:391‑400.

Wongpakaran T, Wongpakaran N, Ruktrakul R. Reliability and validity of the multidimensional scale of perceived social support (MSPSS): Thai version. Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health 2011;26:7.

Pietrzak RH, Russo AR, Ling Q, Southwick SM. Suicidal ideation in treatment‑seeking Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom: The role of coping strategies, resilience, and social support. Psychiatry Res 2011;45:720‑6.

Tsai J, Harpaz‑Rotem I, Pietrzak RH, Southwick SM. The role of coping, resilience, and social support in mediating the relation between PTSD and social functioning in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Psychiatry Res 2012;75:135‑49.

Dalgleish T. Cognitive approaches to posttraumatic stress disorder: The evolution of multirepresentational theorizing. Psychol Bull 2004;130:228.

Jakupcak M, Vannoy S, Imel Z, Cook JW, Fontana A, Rosenheck R, et al. Does PTSD moderate the relationship between social support and suicide risk in Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans seeking mental health treatment? Depress Anxiety 2010;27:1001‑5.

Harris JI, Erbes CR, Engdahl BE, Thuras P, Murray‑Swank N, Grace D, et al. The effectiveness of a trauma focused spiritually integrated intervention for veterans exposed to trauma. J Clin Psychol 2011;67:425‑38.

King DW, Taft C, King LA, Hammond C, Stone ER. Directionality of the association between social support and posttraumatic stress disorder: A longitudinal investigation. J Appl Soc Psychol 2006;36:2980‑92.

Brewin CR. A cognitive neuroscience account of posttraumatic stress disorder and its treatment. Behav Res Ther 2001;39:373‑93.

Sloan DM, Marx BP, Greenberg EM. A test of written emotional disclosure as an intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder. Behav Res Ther 2011;49:299‑304.

Lakey B, Orehek E. Relational regulation theory: A new approach to explain the link between perceived social support and mental health. Psychol Rev 2011;118:482.

Moak Z, Agrawal A. The association between perceived interpersonal social support and physical and mental health: Results from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. J Public Health 2010;32:191‑201.


  • There are currently no refbacks.