Traumatized Relationships: Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Fear of Intimacy, and Marital Adjustment in Dual Trauma Couples

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This study analyzed reports of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, discomfort with intimacy, and marital functioning obtained from 50 male Vietnam combat veterans and their female partners (wives, girlfriends). Using correlations, multiple regression, and path analytic techniques, we found that the trauma-related symptoms of each member of a couple were independently related to distress in the relationship. Further, this association was mediated by a sense of discomfort with intimate interactions. Results are discussed in relation to the complexity of the interplay of an individual’s trauma-related symptoms and his or her difficulties within intimate relationships with a focus on the need for researchers and clinicians to attend to the PTSD symptoms of both members of a couple.

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