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Deployment preparation, family functioning, and PTSD in returning veterans

APA Citation:

Blessing, A., DeBeer, B. B., Meyer, E. C., Riggs, S., Kimbrel, N. A., Gulliver, S. B., & Morissette, S. B. (2020). Deployment preparation, family functioning, and PTSD in returning veterans. Military Behavioral Health, 8(2), 130-138. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2020.1713265

Abstract Created by REACH:

Guided by family systems theory, which proposes that family members are impacted by each other, this study examined family functioning as a key factor linking Veteran deployment preparation and mental health. More specifically, associations between deployment preparedness (i.e., having appropriate training and expectations for deployment), family functional impairment (e.g., difficulty sharing emotions and offering support to family members), and PTSD symptom severity were examined among a sample of 98 Veterans at two timepoints, baseline and 8-month follow-up. While accounting for age, education, and combat exposure, poorer deployment preparedness was related to more family functioning impairment, which was, in turn, linked to greater PTSD symptom severity at both points.

Focus:

Trauma
Deployment

Branch of Service:

Army
Air Force
Marine Corps
Navy
Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Veteran
Guard

Subject Affiliation:

Veteran

Population:

Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)

Authors:

Blessing, Alexis, DeBeer, Bryann B., Meyer, Eric C., Riggs, Shelley, Kimbrel, Nathan A., Gulliver, Suzy Bird, Morissette, Sandra B.

Abstract:

Returning veterans are at elevated risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychological disorder that is associated with poor family functioning and difficulties in interpersonal relationships. Evidence suggests that better training and deployment preparedness can serve as a protective factor against PTSD; however, little research has analyzed their long-term impact on both PTSD and family outcomes. The current study examined the relationships among training and deployment preparedness, family functioning, and PTSD both cross-sectionally and prospectively in a sample of 98 post-9/11 veterans. Perceptions of deployment preparedness had a significant negative indirect effect on PTSD symptom severity through family functional impairment at baseline, and the effect remained significant at 8-month follow-up assessment. Veterans who indicated that they were better trained and prepared for deployment had significantly lower PTSD symptoms and family functional impairment, and these perceptions impacted long-term PTSD symptom severity. The results suggest that deployment training and preparedness can impact PTSD symptoms and family functioning, and have long-term consequences on veterans’ personal and family experiences.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

Article
REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, AB

Keywords:

deployment preparedness, family functional impairment, family systems theory, mediation, post-9/11, posttraumatic stress disorder, relationships, symptom severity, training, veterans

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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