War-related Trauma: Increasing the American GI’s Resilience through Marriage


  • Warren N. Ponder Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Regina T. P. Aguirre University of Texas at Arlington




Veterans, marital satisfaction, PTSD, PCL-M, marriage


Studies have shown PTSD has a negative impact on close relationships among Vietnam War veterans. Recently, studies have replicated these findings in the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) cohort. Currently, over half of the military is married and veterans are returning from combat with elevated rates of PTSD. Thus, investigating which symptom clusters influence marital satisfaction of the veteran the most is important for assisting social workers and other mental health professionals in identifying and prioritizing treatment goals. The current study identifies which of the four PTSD symptom clusters impacts marital satisfaction the most in returning combat veterans using regression analysis. The emotional numbing cluster negatively impacted marital satisfaction whereas the hyper-arousal cluster positively impacted it. Using all 17 Post-traumatic Disorder Checklist-Military (PCL-M) questions as possible predictors of veterans’ marital satisfaction, regression analysis revealed five of the questions account for 26 percent of the variance in marital satisfaction. Clinical implications and recommendations are explored.

Author Biographies

Warren N. Ponder, Department of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Ponder is currently employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Readjustment Counseling Service as a social worker treating combat veterans. Mr. Ponder is currently a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Regina T. P. Aguirre, University of Texas at Arlington

Assistant Professor Department of Social Work The University of Texas at Arlington