Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans is well documented, less so the long-term impact on the health of their partners and families. The perceived health and wellbeing of women partners of Australian Vietnam veterans who were members of partners of veterans support groups is reported. This qualitative study used data from 76 participants in 10 focus groups in metropolitan, regional, and rural and remote areas of New South Wales (NSW). The data were tape-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed using constant comparison methods. The impact of living with a partner with war-related PTSD appears to be significant and ongoing with women drawing parallels to living in a war zone. The biggest negative impact was on their mental health. They felt burdened as carers and struggled to find explanations for their husbands' problems. Support groups were very helpful. There are implications for partners of veterans who have returned from active military duty and from peacekeeping in current conflicts.
Australian Psychologist Vol. 44, Issue 2, p. 128-135