Psychological and marital distress in spouses of Vietnam veterans: importance of spouses' perceptions.J Anxiety Disord. 2010 Oct; 24(7):743-50.JA
Spouses of combat veterans with PTSD have greater psychological and marital distress than spouses of veterans without PTSD; however, few studies have examined how variables related to the spouses (e.g., cognitions) may play a role in their own distress. The current study examined spouses' perceptions of combat veterans' PTSD symptom severity in 465 spouses of veterans from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. Spouses' perceptions of veterans' symptom severity were positively associated with spouses' psychological and marital distress; furthermore, spouses' perceptions fully mediated the effects of veterans' self-reported PTSD severity on spouses' distress. Additionally, for spouses who provided complete data with regard to their perceptions of veterans' PTSD, distress was highest when they perceived high levels of symptoms but veterans reported low levels. These results highlight the importance of interpersonal perceptions in intimate relationships and provide preliminary groundwork for future research on cognitions in spouses of combat veterans with PTSD.