Female Veterans' Combat Experience and PTSD on Male Partners' Psychological Distress and Relationship Quality
Female veterans' combat exposure to trauma places them at risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has consequences for healthful reintegration to family and civilian life. Previous research found that wives who provide continuous care to male veterans with PTSD experience symptoms of psychological distress; however, little research has been conducted on the influence of female veterans' PTSD on their intimate male partners' (IMPs) psychological well-being. A multivariate correlational design was used to examine the influence of female veteran PTSD on psychological distress and relationship quality in IMPs. The couples' adaption to traumatic stress model was used as the theoretical framework. The research questions examined (a) the difference between female veterans with and without PTSD on length of time in relationship, combat experience, total number of deployments, and IMP psychological distress and (b) the influence of female veterans' combat experience, PTSD, and IMP psychological distress on relationship quality. A sample of 71 IMPs between the ages of 18 and 65 provided survey research data on the variables of interest. Psychological distress, number of partner deployments, and length of time in relationship discriminated significantly between IMPS whose partners were diagnosed with PTSD, not diagnosed, or did not know about the PTSD diagnosis. The regression results revealed that the psychological distress of IMPs and number of partner deployments positively predicted relationship quality. Attention to female veterans and their families can contribute to increased retention of female service members in the Army and successful integration into family and civilian life.