Traumatization, Marital Adjustment, and Parenting among Veterans and Their Spouses: A Longitudinal Study of Reciprocal Relations

Yafit Levin, Rahel Bachem, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite considerable research on secondary traumatization, the ramifications of veterans’ and their wives’ posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) for the family system remain largely uninvestigated. Beginning to fill this gap, the current study aims to investigate the reciprocal relations between both spouses’ PTSS and marital adjustment, and the implications these bear for their parental functioning. Two hundred and twenty-five Israeli veterans (mean age = 58.62, SD = 7.6) from the 1973 Yom Kippur War and their wives (mean age = 58.28, SD = 5.79) were examined at two points in time: 30 (T1) and 35–37 years after the war (T2). Analysis included longitudinal actor–partner interdependence modeling and sequential mediation analyses. The results show that higher PTSS among the wives at T1 predicted higher PTSS among husbands at T2, and vice versa, and predicted their husbands’ marital adjustment at T2. Moreover, wives’ PTSS at T1 had a significant effect on parental overinvolvement of both parents at T2, but neither their PTSS nor their husbands’ PTSS had an impact on positive parenting. In the intrapersonal domain, better marital adjustment at T1 predicted positive parenting among both spouses in subsequent measurement. Interpersonally, wives’ lower marital adjustment at T1 predicted husbands’ higher parental functioning, but not vice versa. Furthermore, marital adjustment mediated the association between PTSS and positive parenting for both spouses. The results emphasize the detrimental ramifications of war trauma on the interpersonal domains in veterans’ families. Hence, both marital and parental consequences of trauma should be considered in clinical family interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-942
Number of pages17
JournalFamily Process
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Actor–Partner Interdependence Model
  • Marital Adjustment
  • Parenting
  • Posttraumatic Stress
  • Secondary Traumatization
  • War Trauma

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