Secondary traumatization among wives of PTSD and post-concussion casualties: distress, caregiver burden and psychological separation

Brain Inj. 2000 Aug;14(8):725-36. doi: 10.1080/026990500413759.


This study has two aims. First, it assesses the implication of husbands' post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-concussion syndrome (PC) on their wives' sense of burden and emotional distress. The second aim was to examine the implication of the women's separation-individuation on their adjustment. Sixty women participated in study: 20 women married to war veterans diagnosed as suffering to PTSD, 20 women married to war veterans suffering from PC, and 20 women married to healthy controls. Data was collected using self report questionnaires assessing psychiatric symptomatology, caregiver burden and psychological separation-individuation. Results indicate that women from both research groups suffer from higher levels of burden and distress than controls. The level of separation-individuation was found to be correlated to levels of burden and distress. The complex implications of living with a traumatized spouse are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Brain Concussion / psychology*
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / psychology*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Combat Disorders / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuation*
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Veterans / psychology