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.
- Mental health service utilization
- OEF/OIF soldiers
- Relationship adjustment