Parental Reflectiveness, Posttraumatic Symptoms and Alcohol Use Disorder among Israeli Combat-Veteran Fathers

Daniel Feingold, Gadi Zerach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Combat veterans are highly prone to develop Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) following their release from duty, presumably due to high prevalence of prolonged aversive emotional symptoms such as Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS). Parental Reflective Functions (PRF) and Parental Sense of Competence (PSOC) have been identified as key protective factors in predicting maternal functioning and well-being, yet little is known of its role among fathers, let alone combat veteran fathers. In this study we explored whether PRF and PSOC moderated the association between PTSS and AUD among 189 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) male combat veterans. Participants filled out validated measures assessing PTSS, PRF, PSOC and AUD. Results indicated that PTSS, as well as PRF’s “interest and curiosity regarding the child’s mental states” subscale, were positively correlated to AUD. In addition, PRF’s “certainty about child mental states” subscale moderated the association between PTSS and AUD, so that PTSS and AUD were significantly correlated for participants who reported average or high levels of certainty about their child’s mental states. This finding may imply that intrusive mentalizing (“hypermentalizing”) by veteran fathers may facilitate the association between PTSS and AUD, presumably by constituting a maladaptive mechanism for coping with the stressful uncertainty embedded in the parent–child relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2155-2164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Volume30
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Combat veterans
  • Parental reflective functions
  • Parental sense of competence
  • Posttraumatic stress symptoms

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