Stress and Personal Well-Being among a Sample of Iranian Disabled Veterans' Wives

Article excerpt

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare overall life satisfaction, subjective well-being, family stress, and stress symptoms of wives of three groups of Iranian disabled veterans.

Method: Participants included 97 wives of three groups of disabled veterans (Group 1with 25-49% disability; Group 2 with 50-69% disability; and Group 3 with larger or equal to 70% disability). The participants were selected randomly by computers of Iranian Martyrs and Veterans Foundations. Personal Well-being Index-Adult, Family Inventory of Life Events and Changes and Stress-related Symptoms Inventory were used to measure overall life satisfaction, family resources of stress and stress symptoms. Data were analyzed by ANOVA and linear multivariate regression analysis .

Results: Results showed that there are no differences in stress symptoms among the 3 groups. However, the wives of group 2 showed less stress and more global life satisfaction and subjective well-being; whereas, wives of group 3 showed more family stress and less global life satisfaction and subjective well-being. However, the wives of group 1 showed less global life satisfaction, subjective well-being and less family stress .

Conclusion: Based on other studies, the results of group 1 is abnormal. This abnormality in results is due to two reasons: first, the participants tried to show poorer quality of life. Second, these women have not received enough facilities and services. Therefore, they lost their natural homeostasis. It seems that the last reason is more real because of equality in stress symptoms between the 3 groups.

Key words: Personal satisfaction, Psychological stress, Veterans, Women

Iran J Psychiatry 2010; 5:2:66-73

Unfortunately, war is an inseparable element of human life. In general, offensive and defensive wars produce many losses and injuries. A large part of warrelated injuries may appear in next generations. During the last few decades, Iran has experienced a revolution and eight years of war. In modern life, women experience war-related stresses as much as men during war. Some of women's' war-related stresses are as follows: providing care for disabled veterans, children of veterans, managing the family and bearing veterans' PTSD. Studies suggest that wives of injured men experience more distress than mothers and that the impact of a traumatic injury upon a marriage partnership is different from that of a parent-child relationship (1-4). There are many researches suggesting that veterans' wives experience more stress, show more stress-related symptoms and have poor quality of life or subjective well-being (5-9).

As Whalley Hammell (10) reported that the rehabilitation process had been focused upon the injured person and had rarely included their wives, in Iran, wives of disabled veterans receive a monthly nursing fee and an ordinary insurance without any complementary insurance that disabled veterans have. Furthermore, Iranian wives of prisoners of war rarely receive rehabilitation skills, but wives of killed veterans can receive psychological counseling services although they do not look forward to these services. Wives of traumatized and disabled veterans are one of the various groups of women who have been identified as suffering psychological consequences of war which they did not experience at first hand, but through their close proximity to a direct victim. In the first stage, it seems that veterans have been confronted with war consequences. However, disabled veterans carry their health and socio-economic problems to the person who lives with them. Secondary traumatization is one of several terms, including: "compassion stress," "compassion fatigue," and "secondary victimization" (11), "co-victimization" (12), "traumatic counter transference" (13), and "vicarious traumatization" (14), that have been used to label the manifestations and processes of distress reported by persons in close proximity to victims of traumatic events. …