The role of problem solving appraisal and support in the relationship between stress exposure and posttraumatic stress symptoms of military spouses and service member partners

Kathrine S. Sullivan, Yangjin Park, Sabrina Richardson, Valerie Stander, James J. Jaccard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using a stress process lens, this paper considers the interrelationship between individual and family-level stress exposures and military spouse resources, including problem-solving appraisals and problem-solving support (PSS), and their associations with posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) among both partners in military marital dyads. The study employs data from the Millennium Cohort Family Study, a longitudinal survey of married military dyads, with an initial panel of 9,872 spouses enroled from 2011 to 2013. A structural equation model explored the associations between service member and spouse childhood maltreatment exposure, nonmilitary and military stressors, as well as interactions with spouse resources on self-reported PTSS among both service member (SM) and spouse (SP). Among our findings, spouse childhood maltreatment muted later self-reported problem-solving appraisal and support. Spouse resources, in turn, had both protective (problem-solving appraisal) and promotive (problem-solving support) effects on PTSS for both service members and spouses. These findings emphasise the central role of spouses in military families, as more psychological resources among spouses appeared to buffer against the deleterious effects of stress exposure on both their own and their partners mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStress and Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • military service member
  • military spouse
  • post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • problem-solving appraisal
  • problem-solving support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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