for people ages 18-55 (full criteria)
at San Diego, California
study started
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
by Elizabeth W. Twamley, PhD
Headshot of Elizabeth W. Twamley
Elizabeth W. Twamley



Cognitive impairments are present in up to 80% of homeless individuals, and may contribute to homelessness in Operation Enduring Freedom / Operation Iraqi Freedom / Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) Veterans. The investigators propose to investigate these issues in homeless, treatment-seeking returning Veterans, who arguably face multiple potential barriers to recovery and reintegration, and with whom there is the greatest opportunity to prevent long-term homelessness. The investigators plan to conduct a 15-week randomized controlled trial of an evidence-based, 10-week Compensatory Cognitive Training (CCT) intervention vs. an education control condition to examine the effects of cognitive rehabilitation in this Veteran population. The investigators expect CCT-associated improvements in cognition and functional skills and generalization to reduced levels of disability, along with improved community reintegration outcomes. By attending to and treating cognitive impairments, the investigators can potentially prevent future homelessness and its negative health consequences, resulting in both healthcare cost savings and improved quality of life for Veterans.

Official Title

Cognitive Rehabilitation for Homeless OEF/OIF/OND Veterans


This study integrates cognitive rehabilitation in residential care for homeless Veterans. In a 15-week randomized controlled trial, the investigators will compare an evidence-based, 10-week Compensatory Cognitive Training (CCT) intervention to an education control condition for homeless Veterans with cognitive impairment. CCT aims to improve real-world cognitive performance by teaching strategies to improve prospective memory (remembering to do things), attention, learning/memory, and executive functioning. Strategies to reduce stress and improve sleep are also included. CCT has been shown to improve cognition, functional capacity, neurobehavioral symptom severity, and quality of life in individuals with cognitive impairment associated with psychiatric illness and in Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). During the trial, assessments will be administered at baseline, 5 weeks, 10 weeks, and 15 weeks, and monthly follow-up phone calls will assess housing and employment/education status for one year following program discharge. The investigators expect CCT-associated improvements in cognition and functional skills (co-primary outcomes) and generalization to reduced levels of disability, along with improved community reintegration outcomes (better housing stability, participation in work or school, and healthcare appointment attendance). If effective, the CCT intervention could be exported to the 80+ residential VA programs serving homeless Veterans. The investigators thus propose the following aims: Aim 1. Investigate the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation in homeless returning Veterans with mental health conditions and cognitive impairment by conducting a randomized controlled trial of Compensatory Cognitive Training (CCT) vs. education control for 10 weeks, with a 5-week follow-up, followed by 1 year of monthly post-discharge follow-up phone calls to assess community reintegration outcomes. H1a: Positive CCT-associated effects on cognition, functional capacity (co-primary outcomes), and disability will emerge over the 15-week study. H1b: Positive CCT-associated effects on community reintegration outcomes (housing stability, participation in employment/education, healthcare appointment attendance) will be detected at the end of the 1-year follow-up. Aim 2. Investigate mechanisms of CCT effects. H2: Improved cognition and cognitive strategy use will mediate improvements in functional capacity, disability, and community reintegration. Exploratory Aim 3. Investigate moderators of CCT effects. Presence and severity of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, history of substance abuse, and TBI, as well as duration of homelessness and baseline cognitive functioning, will be explored as potential moderators of CCT effects.


Homelessness Mental Health Conditions Homeless persons Veterans Mental disorders Cognition Rehabilitation CCT HCE Compensatory Cognitive Training (CCT) Holistic Cognitive Education (HCE)


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18-55

  • Male or female
  • Any race/ethnicity
  • Age 18-55
  • Receiving residential treatment at the VA San Diego Aspire Center
  • Meets criteria for Aspire Center program entry
  • OEF/OIF/OND Veteran
  • Presence of at least one DSM-V mental health condition
  • Does not meet criteria for substance use disorder for 28 days prior to admission
  • Homeless or unstably housed
  • Not a sex offender or violent offender
  • Capable of performing activities of daily living and transfers
  • Not judged by a clinician to be at current risk to self or others
  • Has cognitive impairment in at least one cognitive domain (i.e., T-score <40)
  • Able to speak and read English
  • Capable of and willing to provide signed informed consent

You CAN'T join if...



  • VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA
    San Diego California 92161 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSD


accepting new patients by invitation only
Start Date
Completion Date
VA Office of Research and Development
Study Type
Last Updated