Consequences of PTSD for the work and family quality of life of female and male U.S. Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans

  • Dawne Vogt
  • Brian N. Smith
  • Annie B. Fox
  • Timothy Amoroso
  • Emily Taverna
  • Paula P. Schnurr
Original Paper

Abstract

Purpose

Although it is well established that combat-related PTSD can lead to reduced quality of life, less is known about the relative effect of PTSD on different aspects of former service members’ post-military readjustment. Moreover, research on female veterans’ reintegration experiences is limited. This study aimed to document the work and family quality of life of post-9/11 male and female veterans and evaluate the gender-specific impact of PTSD on veterans’ work and family outcomes.

Methods

A national sample of 524 post-9/11 veterans completed mailed surveys as part of a longitudinal study. Descriptive and regression-based analyses were gender-stratified and weighted to enhance representativeness to the larger population.

Results

With a few notable exceptions, the majority of post-9/11 U.S. veterans reported high work and family quality of life. PTSD was not associated with either employment or relationship status; however, it did predict poorer work and family functioning and satisfaction for both men and women, with the most consistent negative effects on intimate relationships. Several gender differences were found, primarily with respect to work experiences.

Conclusions

Although most post-9/11 veterans appear to be doing well in both their work and family lives, results support the need for interventions that can mitigate the negative effect of PTSD and other associated mental health conditions on several aspects of work and family quality of life. Findings contribute to research suggesting both similarities and differences in the post-military readjustment of male and female post-9/11 veterans and underscore the need for additional consideration of the unique work-related challenges women experience following military service.

Keywords

Posttraumatic stress disorder Veterans Quality of life Work Family Gender 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This project was supported by two Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research and Development Service grants: “Validation of Modified DRRI Scales in a National Sample of OEF/OIF Veterans” (DHI 09-086), Dawne Vogt, Principal Investigator, and “Work and Family Functioning in Women Veterans: Implications for VA Service Use (IIR 12-345), Dawne Vogt and Brian Smith, Co-Principal Investigators.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

127_2016_1321_MOESM1_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)
127_2016_1321_MOESM2_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 27 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Women’s Health Sciences Division (116B-3), National Center for PTSDVA Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.National Center for PTSDVA Medical Center (116D)White River JunctionUSA
  4. 4.Geisel School of Medicine DartmouthHanoverUSA

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