Interest in partner-involved services among veterans seeking mental health care from a VA PTSD clinic

Laura A. Meis, Kathryn Wilder Schaaf, Christopher R. Erbes, Melissa A. Polusny, Lynsey R. Miron, Theresa M. Schmitz, Sean M. Nugent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Associations between PTSD and difficulties in intimate relationships have prompted national calls for partner-involvement in treatment for PTSD. However, research is limited evaluating patient preferences for the format of these services or predictors of these preferences. Such information is vital to shaping services so they are relevant to those most interested in them and to those with greatest need. To address these gaps, we surveyed 185 coupled veterans as they presented for mental health appointments at a VA PTSD treatment clinic. We assessed broad interest in greater partner-involvement, specific interest in couple therapy, and potential predictors of these interests, including family concerns, relationship satisfaction, PTSD symptom severity, and combat era. We found unique positive associations between interest in partner-involvement and both family concerns and relationship satisfaction, suggesting those most interested in partner-involvement are likely those experiencing the greatest family concerns and the most satisfied in their intimate relationships. Associations between interest and PTSD severity were nonsignificant. Interest in couple therapy was significantly greater among returning veterans than Vietnam/Korean War Veterans. However, these two groups did not vary significantly in their interest in greater partner-involvement more broadly. Discussion of findings considers the roles of both insight into PTSD-related family problems and relationship satisfaction in motivating interest in partner-involvement in care, the potential need to address motivation for partner-involvement among veterans in distressed relationships, and the importance of alternative methods of partner-involvement to full courses of couple therapy, particularly for Vietnam/Korean War era veterans. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-342
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013


  • PTSD
  • couples
  • treatment preferences
  • veterans


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