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Abstract

Veterans’ and family members are facing great difficulties when the veteran returns home to transition into civilian life. Marriages are struggling, and families are being torn apart when the veteran returns home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although there are many programs that have been created to educate spouses about PTSD, however, they often fall short of being able to prepare a family for the actual experience of transition. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is starting to come up with programs to help couples and research is starting to gain empirical support; there are still many couples left with no idea what to do. In a group already prone to higher rates of divorce, infidelity, and domestic violence, it is important to analyze every plausible explanation and treatment possible to make sure the best care is being given. This paper analyzes empirical literature on spouse’s perceptions, education on PTSD, and relationship dynamics. The results of this analysis, along with the creation of the PTSD Marriage Triangle and Couples Perception Grid, could pave the way for creating a proactive peer education course for spouses before they leave the military. That will give them a much better understanding of PTSD, perceptions, and creating a “we” united front in their marriage. This could have a positive impact both on the spouse’s mental and emotional health while improving their marriage by not letting it get to a dysfunctional state.

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