App Reviews /

PTSD Coach Review

PTSD Coach Screenshots


4.67 / 5.00

Overall Score: 14/15

Consumer Ratings: 1/2
Proposed Goal: 2/2
Evidence Based Content: 1/1
Software Updates: 2/2
Clinical Input in Development: 1/1
Research on Development Process: 1/1
Efficacy of Other Products: 1/1
Research Independence and Review: 2/2
Research Base: 3/3

Rating Date: August 2020

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User Experince

User Experience

3.90 / 5.00

Engagement: 3.50 Functionality: 3.88 Aesthetics: 3.67 Information: 4.57 Subjective quality score: 2.50 Perceived impact score: 3.08 Rating date: August 2016 Rated by: Queensland University

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Overall Score: Acceptable

Does the app have a privacy policy?:Yes

Does the privacy policy describe the information storage and sharing procedures related to user entered information, OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes

Does the privacy policy state that the app/server encrypts/de-identifies the entered data OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes

Does the app provide the option of a pin entry or log-in process to view and enter user data?:Yes

Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can use the app WITHOUT entering identifiable information, OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes

Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can delete entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes

Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can edit entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes

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PTSD Coach is an app developed for service members (active or retired) who may be experiencing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Created jointly by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, PTSD Coach offers multiple features for addressing reactions to trauma. It provides educational information about PTSD, a checklist to help with diagnosis, skills for managing symptoms, and resources for obtaining support. PTSD Coach also let users track their symptoms over time.

Read the Professional Review for PTSD Coach: A Professional Review

Technical Details

Available for: iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Requires Android 4.4 and up.
Developer: US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Type of Treatment: Mindfulness, Symptom Tracking/Self-Monitoring, Psychoeducation & Information, Test/Screener Apps
Targeted Conditions: PTSD
Target Audience: Adults
Designed to be used in conjunction with a professional? No
Languages Available: English, Spanish
Cost: Free
Get it on: Apple App Store, Google Play

Research on this App

In a study published in 2014, user satisfaction, perceived helpfulness, and usage patterns of PTSD coach were studied in a sample of 45 veterans receiving PTSD treatment. After using PTSD Coach for several days, participants completed a survey of satisfaction and perceived helpfulness and focus groups exploring app use and benefit from use. Data indicate that participants were very satisfied with PTSD Coach and perceived it as being moderately to very helpful with their PTSD symptoms. (Kuhn, E., Greene, C., Hoffman, J., Nguyen, T., Wald, L., Schmidt, J., … & Ruzek, J. 2014.

Another study, published in 2016, evaluated the use of PTSD coach in a primary care setting. Twenty primary care veterans with PTSD symptoms were randomized to either Self-Managed PTSD Coach consisting of one 10-min session providing instructions for application use or Clinician-Supported PTSD Coach consisting of four 20-min sessions focused on setting symptom reduction goals and helping veterans fully engage with application content. Research procedures and intervention conditions appear feasible as indicated by high rates of assessment and intervention retention and high clinician fidelity and satisfaction. Both treatments resulted in reductions in PTSD symptoms, with 7 Clinician-Supported PTSD Coach and 3 Self-Managed PTSD Coach participants reporting clinically significant improvements. (Possemato, K., Kuhn, E., Johnson, E., Hoffman, J. E., Owen, J. E., Kanuri, N., … & Brooks, E. 2016.

A community sample of trauma survivors with PTSD symptoms (N=49) were randomized to 1 month using PTSD Coach or a waitlist condition. Participants reported using the app several times per wek, that PTSD Coach were moderately helpful and that they had learned tools and skills from the app to manage their symptoms. Between conditions effect size estimates were modest for PTSD symptom improvement, but not statistically significant. (Miner, A., Kuhn, E., Hoffman, J. E., Owen, J. E., Ruzek, J. I., & Taylor, C. B. 2016.

120 participants were randomized to either a PTSD Coach or a waitlist condition for 3 months. PTSD Coach participants had significantly greater improvements in PTSD symptoms, depressive sympotoms, and psychosocial functioning than did waitlist participants; however, at posttreatment, there were no significant mean differences in outcomes between conditions. A greater proportion of PTSD Coach participants achieved clinically significant PTSD symptom improvement than waitlist participants. (Kuhn, E., Kanuri, N., Hoffman, J. E., Garvert, D. W., Ruzek, J. I., & Taylor, C. B. 2017.

How we evaluate

We review apps against rating criteria developed by experts in the field. Some of those criteria are:



We look at the research supporting the technology and the credibility of the development process.



We review privacy policies to see if key pieces of information about what happens with entered data are addressed.


User Experience

We explore how fun, functional, easy-to-use, engaging, and interesting the technology is.


Professional Reviews

A professional in a relevant field downloads and uses the technology and writes a narrative review, highlighting pros & cons and some recommendations for use.

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