Posttraumatic Stress Mediates Traditional Masculinity Ideology and Romantic Relationship Satisfaction in Veteran Men

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Abstract

Veteran men have high rates of adherence to traditional masculinity ideology, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and romantic relationship dissatisfaction. However, there is a paucity of studies investigating how these constructs relate to one another in veteran men. We examined the relation between masculinity ideology and relationship satisfaction and the extent to which this relation was mediated by PTSD symptoms. Next, we tested this mediating effect with traditional male role norms hypothesized to inhibit cognitive-emotional processing of traumatic events (i.e., self-reliance, toughness, dominance, restrictive emotionality) and male role norms with no hypothesized relation with cognitive–emotional processing (i.e., avoidance of femininity, importance of sex, negativity toward sexual minorities). Participants were veteran men with a history of military-related trauma who were in a romantic relationship at the time of study participation (N = 76). Veterans completed measures of traditional masculinity ideology endorsement, PTSD symptoms, and relationship satisfaction. Findings indicated that PTSD partially mediated the association between endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology and relationship functioning in veterans. These findings can be used to inform PTSD interventions with veteran men and their romantic partners.

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