“Why do you stay?”: The lived-experience of partners of Australian veterans and first responders with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Elaine Waddell, Sharon Lawn, Louise Roberts, Julie Henderson, Anthony Venning, Paula Redpath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the multidimensional nature of experiences of being an intimate partner of an Australian veteran or emergency service first responder (ESFR) with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Using a qualitative phenomenological approach, inductive thematic analysis was undertaken on data collected in 2017–2018 through individual interviews with a purposive sample of 22 partners of veterans, paramedics, fire and police officers living in Australia. Analysis revealed that the key concern of the participants was to protect their family unit and the intimate relationship, highlighting the ways in which they adapted, managed and coped with the changes that PTSD brought to the relationship. However, lack of understanding by healthcare providers, government, military and emergency service organizations of their daily lives, and of the strength of commitment to their relationship, resulted in a sense of invisibility and was revealed as the key barrier to the support they crave. The findings underscore the importance of recognizing the significance of the intimate relationship in trauma recovery and of responding to the support needs of the intimate partner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1734-1742
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Social Care in The Community
Volume28
Issue number5
Early online date15 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • emergency services
  • family carers
  • mental health
  • military veterans
  • phenomenology
  • social support

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