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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2014 Sep 11;12:136. doi: 10.1186/s12955-014-0136-x.

Quality of life of Croatian veterans' wives and veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Referral Centre for the Stress Related Disorders of the Ministry of Health of Croatia, University Hospital Dubrava, Avenija Gojka Šuška 6, Zagreb, Croatia.



Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has a great impact on a patient's quality of life (QoL). People in long-term contact with a person suffering from PTSD, such as family members, may also consequently develop various emotional problems.


We investigated whether chronic combat PTSD is related to lower QoL of veterans' wives. The study included 164 veterans with PTSD, 281 PTSD veterans' wives, 115 healthy non-veterans' wives and 223 men without PTSD. All participants were assessed for psychiatric morbidity (Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview) and measures of QoL (World Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire - short form). In veterans, the symptoms were evaluated using Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS).


The pattern of differences between the study groups was similar across all QoL domains. Men without PTSD had the highest scores, followed by women who were not married to PTSD patients (significantly different across all four QoL domains). PTSD veterans' wives tended to had lower scores than either of these groups. Significant differences between PTSD veterans' wives and women who were not married to PTSD patients were observed in three (out of four) QoL domains: psychological health, Z = 2.907, P = 0.022; social relationships, Z = 3.285, P = 0.006; and environmental domain, Z = 5.317, P < 0.001. The lowest scores were recorded in PTSD veterans (significantly lower than PTSD veterans' wives in every domain except environmental). The wives who reported to be ill at the time tended to have lower scores across all four domains (P < 0.05) (low to moderate correlation; physical health, ρ = -0.56; psychological health, ρ = -0.42; social relationships, ρ = -0.30; environmental, ρ = -0.33), as well as those who sometimes in their lives they sought professional help due to having problems with their husband (P < 0.05) (very low to low correlation; physical health, ρ = -0.37; psychological health, ρ = -0.38; social relationships, ρ = -0.30; environmental, ρ = -0.15).


Our results indicate the negative impact of husband's chronic PTSD on overall QoL, psychological health, social relations, and environmental area of QoL of veteran's wives. Assessment of QoL may be important during the intervention and planning of specific treatment and rehabilitation programs for the families of war veterans.

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