Personal Well-Being and Stress Symptoms in Wives of Iranian Martyrs, Prisoners of Wars and Disabled Veterans

Article excerpt

Objective: This study was conducted to compare the personal well-being among the wives of Iranian veterans living in the city of Qom.

Method: A sample of 300 was randomly selected from a database containing the addresses of veteran's families at Iran's Veterans Foundation in Qom (Bonyad-e-Shahid va Omoore Isargaran). The veterans' wives were divided into three groups: wives of martyrs (killed veterans), wives of prisoners of war, and wives of disabled veterans. The Persian translation of Personal Well-being Index and Stress Symptoms Checklist (SSC) were administered for data collection. Four women chose not to respond to Personal Well-being Index. Data were then analyzed using linear multivariate regression (stepwise method), analysis of variance, and by computing the correlation between variables.

Results: Results showed a negative correlation between well-being and stress symptoms. However, each group demonstrated different levels of stress symptoms. Furthermore, multivariate linear regression in the 3 groups showed that overall satisfaction of life and personal well-being (total score and its domains) could be predicted by different symptoms.

Conclusion: Each group experienced different challenges and thus different stress symptoms. Therefore, although they all need help, each group needs to be helped in a different way.

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

Iran J Psychiatry 2010; 5:28-34

The wives of veterans experience stress during the time they should give care to their husbands and their families (1). The 1980 Equal Opportunities Commission report identifies physical problems related to the exertions of caring for a disabled relative. Women who care for a husband with altered character (for example, as may occur following a head injury or stroke) at home may be predisposed to depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness (2,3). Wives of traumatized veterans are one of the various groups who have been identified as suffering psychological consequences of traumatic events, which they did not experience at first hand, but through their close proximity to a direct victim. In a further analysis, Jordan et al. (4) found that the wives of PTSD veterans reported significantly lower happiness and life satisfaction and higher demoralization than the wives of veterans without PTSD. There are many evidences that suggest the veterans' symptoms continue and even worsen during the years after the war (5 -11.) . Solomon et. al. (12) have found that partners of veterans with PTSD or other combat stress reactions have a greater likelihood of developing their own mental health problems compared to partners of veterans without these stress reactions. In addition, male partners of female Vietnam veterans with PTSD reported poorer subjective well being and more social isolation than partners of female veterans without PTSD. (4). Nelson and Wright (13) indicate that partners of PTSD-diagnosed veterans, often describe difficulty coping with their partner's PTSD symptoms, describe stress because their needs are unmet, and describe experiences of physical and emotional violence.

Partners are keenly aware of cues that precipitate symptoms of PTSD, and partners take an active role in managing and minimizing the effects of these precipitants .Many researchers concluded that there were high levels of caregiver burden included psychological distress, dysphoria, and anxiety(13-15) . Studies also suggest that wives of injured men experience more distress than mothers (16-19). A more specific study was carried out by Solomon et al. (12) on 205 wives of Israeli combat veterans of the 1982 Lebanon war providing further evidence of heightened emotional distress among wives of PTSD veterans. Similar findings were obtained on another sample of wives of Israeli war veterans of the Lebanon war some twenty years after (20). It seems that these reactions to give care to the husband partly relate to giving care to a chronic patient and changing normal pattern of family functioning. …