Abstract: Anger is a common problem among veterans and has been associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study aimed to improve understanding of how anger and PTSD co-occur by examining gender differences and differences by whether the triggering traumatic event is deployment-related vs. civilian-related in current service members. A representative cohort of Reserve and National Guard service personnel (n = 1293) were interviewed to assess for deployment- or civilian-related traumas, PTSD, and anger. The prevalence of self-reported anger problems was estimated among male (n = 1036) and female (n = 257) service members. Log Poisson regression models with robust standard errors were used to estimate the associations of problems with anger with PTSD and PTSD symptom severity for men and women. Self-reported anger problems were common among male (53.0%) and female (51.3%) service members. Adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) showed associations between anger and PTSD connected to both civilian- and deployment-related traumas (PR were 1.77 (95% CI 1.52–2.05) and 1.85 (95% CI 1.62–2.12), respectively). PTSD symptom severity was also associated with anger. This study was cross-sectional and so a causal relationship between PTSD and anger cannot be established. Problems with anger are common among male and female current Guard and Reserve members. These findings suggest that anger treatment should be made available to current service members and that clinicians should assess anger problems irrespective of gender. Future research should examine the effectiveness of anger treatment protocols by gender.
Abstract: When military service members separate from the military, many return to their families of origin, living with their parents for a period of several weeks to years. While research with veterans and their spouses has documented the particular strain of this reintegration period on veterans and their partners, little research to date has examined veterans’ experiences living with their parents. The present study sought to fill this research gap by investigating veterans’ experiences living with their parents using qualitative, in-depth interviews with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in California. Overall, veterans appreciated the instrumental and emotional support their parents provided when they separated. However, in some cases, living with parents also produced conflict and strain. In situations where adult veteran children had difficulty with the transition to civilian life or returned with mental health problems, parents were often the first to identify these problems and to support their children in accessing appropriate care. We analyze these findings in light of family systems theory, identifying ways in which adult veteran children continue a process of differentiation while living with their parents and maintaining emotional connectedness. We suggest ways that clinicians can better support veterans and their parents through the reintegration period and recommend that programming for military families explicitly include parents of service members in addition to conjugal families.