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The Role of Gender and Social Support in the Treatment of PTSD

25 July 2005


A traumatic experience can extend far beyond the event itself. For individuals diagnosed with PTSD, the trauma often creates fear and anxiety that changes the way trauma victims relate to the world. Symptoms of avoidance may significantly impair interpersonal relationships with family, friends, and especially romantic partners. This study looked at the availability and use of social support by men and women who have experienced a traumatic event. Measures of marital satisfaction and traumatic history were given to a sample of 60 married individuals to assess whether these variables were related to their level of satisfaction with their current social environment. The findings revealed that men reported fewer available social supports than women. The men who' had experienced trauma reported fewer social supports than their non-traumatized counterparts. All groups consistently listed spouses as an available social support. Despite the relative lack of available social support, the traumatized males reported comparable levels of satisfaction. The implications of these findings on the existing literature and treatment modalities are discussed in the conclusion of the paper.


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