Parenting With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Veteran’s Experience

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Abstract

Research on the impact of military-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on veterans’ families has grown over the years. However, one area that has yet to be well investigated is the impact of military-related PTSD on parenting, particularly from the perspective of the veteran parent. This qualitative study aimed to investigate the parenting and family life experiences of veterans living with PTSD. Nine male and two female ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel with a diagnosis of PTSD and who were parenting dependent children were recruited into the study. All participants completed the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist—Version 5 and engaged in individual interviews averaging 80 min in length. The semistructured interview schedule was organized around their parenting and family experiences. The data were analyzed using thematic content analysis alongside member checks. Five primary themes were identified: (a) disconnectedness, (b) the transgenerational effects of being “parented by someone with PTSD,” (c) PTSD: an umbrella effect, (d) “a strong sense of family,” and (e) supports in the context of parenting with military-related PTSD. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

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