Relationship adjustment, PTSD symptoms, and treatment utilization among coupled national guard soldiers deployed to Iraq

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65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with considerable impairment in relationship adjustment, research has yet to investigate how PTSD symptoms and relationship distress uniquely and jointly predict utilization of a range of mental health services. The present study sought to examine these issues utilizing a longitudinal sample of National Guard soldiers surveyed 2-3 months following return from deployment to Iraq and again 12 months later (N = 223). Results indicated that PTSD symptom severity, but not relationship adjustment, uniquely predicted greater odds of utilizing individual-oriented mental health services. A significant interaction was found indicating associations between PTSD symptoms and the odds of using services were increased when soldiers reported greater relationship adjustment. For utilization of family-oriented care, greater relationship distress was significantly correlated with greater odds of using services, but associations with PTSD symptoms were nonsignificant. The association between relationship distress and utilization of family-oriented services did not vary significantly with severity of PTSD symptoms. Results suggest supportive intimate relationships facilitate mental health treatment utilization for soldiers with PTSD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-567
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

Keywords

  • Mental health service utilization
  • OEF/OIF soldiers
  • PTSD
  • Relationship adjustment

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