The experience of the female partners of Canadian Military Veterans diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder

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Pickrell-Baker, Sandra
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Military members and first responders to catastrophic events directly experience the impact of trauma. This may lead to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other types of secondary stress response. PTSD often brings complications such as personality and behavioural changes. Previous research has demonstrated there is a need to be concerned with treating the primary sufferers of PTSD. However, there is also a chain reaction in the relationship dynamics of the family. The family unit themselves develop symptoms of PTSD, and manifest their own secondary traumatic stress response. The primary question for this study was: What are the lived experiences of the female partners of Canadian military veterans diagnosed with PTSD? Secondary questions addressed the relationship between the experience of the diagnosis of PTSD and daily life. Specifically, what coping strategies and supportive resources did these women utilize? This study was situated within an interpretive/constructivist framework. In this study we read about women, who while dealing with ambiguous loss, must adjust and adapt their lives around the needs of their partner, who is struggling with the symptoms of PTSD. The complications of this change in relationship led women to deself and face the difficulties of secondary traumatic stress, such as depression and hyper vigilance. There is a need for future and more in depth research into family functioning when faced with this phenomenon. Specifically, does the adjusting and adapting actually enable the veteran to stay ill and remain defined by his diagnosis? What are the long-term implications for the children who are being reared in these circumstances. How can these women be enabled to gain meaningful support in order to cope with daily life?
Military Spouses , Mental Health , Veterans , Post-traumatic Stress Disorder