Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Data on Veterans Point to Risk, Resiliency in Marriages

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Data on Veterans Point to Risk, Resiliency in Marriages

Article excerpt

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. -- Veterans with severe posttraumatic stress disorder who live with a spouse or partner are more likely to engage in some high-risk behaviors and less likely to engage in others, compared with those who live alone, Kent Drescher, Ph.D., reported at the annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Male veterans living with a spouse or partner had significantly higher body mass indexes, reported more aggressive behavior, and reported more aggressive driving than did those living alone. On the other hand, they had significantly better nutrition, reported less alcohol use, and showed a trend toward less reported drug use.

The study involved 540 consecutive admissions to a Veterans Affairs (VA) residential treatment program for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) between 2002 and 2005. Dr. Drescher, of the VA Palo Alto (Calif.) Health Care System, and his colleagues obtained data from these patients, 87% of whom were male, during their first week of treatment.

The investigators collected demographic information and assessed several measures of physical health, substance use, and anger and aggression.

As a whole, the patients acknowledged startlingly high levels of aggressive behavior. For example, 42% admitted to making verbal threats during their lifetime, 39% admitted to assaulting others, and 34% admitted to causing property damage. Furthermore, 31% admitted to tailgating, cutting off, or chasing other drivers; 47% admitted to driving under the influence, and 9% admitted to intentionally crashing their cars. …

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