The Home Front: Operational Stress Injuries and Veteran Perceptions of Their Children’s Functioning

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The severity of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reported by military parents appears to predict affective and behavioral symptoms presented by their children. Veteran’s symptoms also appear to hinder the relationship with their child. Accordingly, the present study examined the relationship between specific PTSD symptoms (i.e., reexperiencing, avoidance, numbing, hyperarousal) and the affective and behavioral concerns those veterans have regarding their own children, with depressive symptoms included as a covariate. A total of 1238 (95% = men) Canadian Forces veterans completed self-report measures assessing mental health (i.e., PTSD Checklist – Military version; Center for Epidemiological Studies – Depression Scale) and questions regarding familial concerns (i.e., child affect and behavior) as part of a mail-out survey. Logistic regressions demonstrated that veterans with PTSD have greater concerns over the affect of their child (p < .001) and behavior of their child (p = .001) than veterans without PTSD. Logistic regressions also demonstrated that numbing and hyperarousal symptoms were related to both affective (p = .008 and p < .001, respectively) and behavioral concerns (p = .001 and p < .001, respectively) regarding the veteran’s children. Veteran’s PTSD symptoms may contribute to a familial environment conducive to the development of affective and behavioral concerns regarding children; however, PTSD symptoms may also alter a veteran’s ability to identify such concerns. Comprehensive results, implications, and future research are discussed.

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