Feasibility and Acceptability of Health Coaching as an Upstream Suicide Prevention Approach: A Pilot Study Among Post-9/11 Veterans

Lauren M. Denneson, Amira Y. Trevino, Emily A. Kenyon, Sarah Ono, Paul N. Pfeiffer, Steven K. Dobscha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This pilot study sought to examine the feasibility and acceptability of Whole Health Coaching (WHC) among post-9/11 era veterans with indicators of suicide risk. Participants were 28 post-9/11 veterans with 1 or more diagnoses associated with suicide risk (depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, pain, sleep disorders, or substance use disorders) recruited from primary care clinics. WHC is a patient-centered approach that facilitates goal-setting, articulation of action steps, and goal achievement. Participants received 8 weekly coaching sessions and completed questionnaires at baseline and Weeks 4, 8, and 16. Feasibility and acceptability outcomes were study enrollment and intervention completion rates, a measure of participant satisfaction, and intervention fidelity. Psychological well-being was the primary health outcome. Qualitative interviews with participants provided additional information about feasibility, acceptability, and health outcomes. Twenty-eight (48%) of the 58 eligible patients reached by phone enrolled. Seventy-five percent (n = 21) completed the intervention (≥ 5 sessions). Mean satisfaction with the intervention was 28.2 (32 possible total). Qualitative analyses further supported the acceptability of WHC. Postintervention (Week 8), participants reported nonsignificant improvements in psychological well-being (p =.88; d = 0.04). These findings suggest WHC is an acceptable and feasible modality among veterans with suicide risk indicators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-447
Number of pages12
JournalMilitary Behavioral Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019


  • Suicide
  • health promotion
  • resilience
  • veterans
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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