to-face interviews and medical examinations in 1986-1988. The response rate for the NSVG was 83% for Vietnam-theater veterans. Of the 1200 theater veterans who were interviewed, 862 were selected for followup on the basis of PTSD classification. The followup group also contained an oversampling of veterans without PTSD who indicated they had had high combat exposure or high levels of nonspecific psychological distress. Of these veterans, 585 were living with a female spouse or partner at the time of the survey and 376 of these women were selected to participate in the 1-hour Spouse/Partner Interview; the response rate was 80%. PTSD in the veterans was determined based on the DIS and the Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related PTSD; the clinical examination portion of the NVVRS also included the SCID and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) PTSD Scale. The PTSD cases for the following studies were identified based on the Mississippi Scale and adjusted for the bias relative to the clinical interview assessments.
Based on responses to the NSVG, Jordan et al. (1992) selected all households of theater veterans who appeared to have PTSD, and the households of a subset of veterans who did not appear to have PTSD, to determine the effects of PTSD on family adjustment and marital conflict. The 1200 Vietnam veterans and 376 of their spouses or partners completed the Marital Problems Index (MPI), the Parental Problems Index (PPI), the Family Adjustment Index, the Level of Functioning Index, the Social Isolation Index, the Child Behavior Checklist, and the Index of Subjective Well-Being. Of the veterans who were married or cohabitating at the time of the survey, the 231 veterans with PTSD, compared with the 736 veterans without PTSD, reported significantly (p < 0.001) more marital and relationship problems (mean MPI score 2.54 vs 1.74), more parenting problems (mean PPI score 2.61 vs 1.93), and poorer family adjustment (54.8% vs 19.3% reporting extreme problems). Veterans with PTSD were six times as likely to have the most martial and relationship problems (that is to score in the high range on the MPI) (48.9% vs 8.7%), three times as likely to fall in the highest category on the PPI (54.7% vs 17.3%), and two times as likely to report extreme family adjustment issues (49.2% vs 21.9%) as veterans without PTSD. The 122 partners and spouses of veterans with PTSD were significantly more likely to report lower levels of happiness and life satisfaction (11.2% vs 1.9%), and higher demoralization scores (42.7% vs 15.4%) than the 252 spouses or partners of veterans without PTSD. Along similar lines, children of veterans with PTSD were substantially more likely to have a behavior problem than those of veterans without PTSD (20.5% vs 12.0%). The authors suggest that a veteran’s PTSD is a major source of family dysfunction.
Two studies (Call and Teachman 1991, 1996) used data from the Career Development Study (CDS). In the CDS, a stratified sample of 6729 young men and women in public high schools in the state of Washington who completed a questionnaire in 1965-1966 (time 1) were contacted again in 1979-1980 (time 2) by telephone to gather information on life experiences since high school. The response rate at the followup was 90.6%.
Call and Teachman (1991) classified the CDS cohort of 2901 men responding at time 2 into 627 Vietnam-combat veterans, 586 Vietnam-era veterans, and 1688 nonveterans. The men were about 30-31 years old at time 2. As of 1980, 87.2%, 82.1%, and 79.9%, of the men, respectively, had been married. The authors used multivariate analysis to determine the probability of divorce and the influence of combat service on marital stability. The authors found that being in combat in Vietnam vs serving in the military but not in Vietnam, had no impact on the probability of being divorced. They also found that combat service had a positive impact on marriage duration.