Considerable research has indicated strong associations between posttraumatic stress and cardiovascular
disease (CVD) risk. Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) tend to show patterns of
elevated CVD risk earlier in life than in the general population. The need for developing effective
interventions for CVD risk-reduction in PTSD is increasingly evident. In comparison to the cumulative
evidence concerning elevated CVD risk in PTSD, relatively little research has addressed CVD risk-
reduction in this population. Adjunctive treatments, such as health behavior interventions, may be
necessary as supplements to traditional psychotherapy for PTSD in order to reduce CVD risks.
The objective of the proposed project is to examine the effects of a healthy lifestyle intervention that
addresses multiple CVD-related heath behaviors among civilian adults across genders (ages 18+), who
evidence PTSD and CVD risk at baseline. We will assess the intervention impact on both subjective and
objective indices of health behaviors, cardiovascular risks and CVD markers over a one-year timeframe.
The healthy lifestyle intervention addresses unique aspects of PTSD symptom presentation that serve as
barriers to healthy behaviors (e.g., avoidance of physiological arousal/activation, viewing extra body
weight as protection against abuse, nightmares/sleep disruption, and cognitive responses to stress), while
encouraging healthy lifestyle changes. The primary goal of the present study is to examine whether,
compared to a usual care psychotherapy control condition, utilizing the healthy lifestyle intervention as an
adjunct to psychotherapy will result in significantly reduced CVD risks and improved CVD markers among
civilian adults with PTSD and elevated CVD risks. Therefore, participants will be randomly assigned to
either a usual care psychotherapy-only control condition or a usual care psychotherapy plus healthy
lifestyle intervention condition. Outcomes will be assessed at post-intervention (12 weeks), as well as 6-
month and 12-month time points for follow-up evaluation.