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Relationship satisfaction, the influence of trauma, and needs analysis of military couples

1 July 2013


Previous research has found that the stresses of a military lifestyle, including military trauma, may be detrimental to intimate relationships. This study explored the relationships between PTSD symptoms, relationship satisfaction, and perceived barriers to accessing couples counseling resources in a sample of military service members or veterans and their partners (N=29). In addition, a needs analysis was performed to determine couples’ mental health service utilization and the most common barriers to utilizing couples counseling. Results revealed no significant relationship between PTSD symptom severity and relationship satisfaction. Relationship satisfaction was significantly negatively correlated to number of perceived barriers to accessing couples counseling resources (r = -.50, p = .003). The majority of participants had never used couples counseling resources (65.5%). The most commonly reported barriers to treatment were stigma (44.8%), lack of awareness of resources (20.7%), and unwillingness of one partner to participate in treatment (20.7%). Results suggest measures need to be taken to reduce stigma and increase awareness of couples’ mental health resources in the military in order to improve quality of relationships, increase resilience, and improve personnel retention rates.


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