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The association of self-reported romantic relationship satisfaction and anhedonia symptoms secondary to posttraumatic stress among trauma-exposed male service members/veterans

APA Citation:

Blais, R. K. (2022). The association of self-reported romantic relationship satisfaction and anhedonia symptoms secondary to posttraumatic stress among trauma-exposed male service members/veterans. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 14(2), 318-325. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0001058

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study examined whether posttraumatic stress symptoms (i.e., intrusions, avoidance, negative affect, anhedonia, anxious arousal, dysphoric arousal, and externalizing behaviors) were related to relationship satisfaction among male Service members and Veterans. 217 partnered men with a probable trauma exposure completed an online questionnaire regarding their posttraumatic stress symptoms and relationship satisfaction as well as depressive symptoms, problematic drinking, and relationship status and length. When accounting for several factors, anhedonia (e.g., loss of interest, social detachment, reduced affect) was the only posttraumatic stress symptom associated with lower relationship satisfaction.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Marine Corps
Air Force
Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member


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


Quantitative Study


Blais, Rebecca K.


OBJECTIVE: Higher posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are associated with poorer romantic relationship satisfaction in military samples. Studies have examined PTSD symptom clusters and their association with relationship satisfaction, but these studies are limited to the pre-Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)-5 PTSD models or samples of women. The current study explored the best fitting model of PTSD using contemporary symptoms and examined the association of symptom clusters and relationship satisfaction in a sample of partnered male service members/veterans who reported exposure to a probable Criterion A event. METHOD: Factor analyses of 6 competing PTSD models were compared using confirmatory factor analysis in a sample of 499 men. Path analysis was then used to examine which symptom clusters were uniquely associated with relationship satisfaction after accounting for covariates in a subsample of 217 men who reported probable Criterion A exposure. RESULTS: The Anhedonia and Hybrid Models had the best fit to the data in both the larger sample and subsample of men reporting probable trauma exposure. Models had comparable model fit, thus symptom clusters from both models were examined as predictors of relationship satisfaction in 2 separate analyses adjusted for covariates. In both analyses, only higher anhedonia symptoms were associated with lower romantic relationship satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: Data was cross-sectional so causality cannot be inferred, but it appears that poorer relationship satisfaction is more common when symptoms of anhedonia are high. Interventions to improve relationship satisfaction among those reporting posttraumatic stress symptoms may be most effective if they focus on reducing anhedonia.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

American Psychological Association

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychology, Utah State University, RKB


ptsd, relationship satisfaction, anhedonia

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


Utah State University

REACH Newsletter:

  July 2022

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