Date of Degree

2011

Document Type

PhD diss.

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Department

Counseling, Rehabilitation and Student Development

First Advisor

Vilia M. Tarvydas

Second Advisor

Noel Estrada Hernandez

Abstract

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the signature wound of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has caused veterans to face numerous and complex challenges within their intimate relationships post-deployment. Although other studies have explored the intimate relationships of veterans, the same level of research has not focused on OEF/OIF veterans from the standpoint of dyadic adaptation using the Dyadic Adaptation Scale (DAS). The purpose of this study was to explore the level of dyadic adaptation in intimate relationships of OEF/OIF veterans who self-reported PTSD and those who did not.

More specifically, this study identified the factors that were related to the level of dyadic adaptation for this population. Participants were 126 OEF/OIF veterans who were enrolled in colleges and universities throughout the state of Iowa; provided basic background information in response to a demographics questionnaire; and completed the DAS to yield scores of the participants' dyadic adaptation within their intimate relationships, the Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES) that highlighted their levels of coping, and the Family Inventory of Life Events (FILE) that measured their life stressors within the last 12 months.

The results of the correlation, MANOVA, ANOVA, and hierarchical regression analyses provided four major findings and implications. First, among participants with PTSD, DAS was correlated with tours of duty, FILE, F-COPES, and pharmacologic intervention, and among participants without PTSD, DAS was correlated with FILE. Second, the total dyadic adaptation scores for participating OEF/OIF veterans suggested an overall slight level of relationship dissatisfaction. Third, participants who self-reported PTSD had lower DAS total scores than participants who did not self-report PTSD. In addition, there was a significant difference on all four subscales (cohesion, satisfaction, consensus, and affectional expression) of the DAS between the two groups of participants. Fourth, in terms of participants who self-reported PTSD, tours of duty, types of relationships, and life stressors were the only variables that positively affected dyadic adaptation. In contrast, for participants who did not self-report PTSD, FILE was the only variable that affected the dyadic adaptation. These findings have important implications that highlight areas in which clinicians, educators, and individuals within the helping professions can join the Department of Veterans Affairs' initiatives to improve the reintegration of OEF/OIF veterans into their familiar roles post-deployment. Future research should explore the relationship norms pre-deployment and across relationship statutes, the identity of military intimate partners within treatment facilities, and the perceptions of treatment and dyadic adaptation after OEF/OIF veterans receive treatment in the community by civilian providers as compared to treatment in VA facilities.

Pages

xii, 150

Bibliography

137-150

Copyright

Copyright 2011 Nykeisha Nicole Moore