Background: The aim of the study is to examine secondary traumatization of wives of former prisoners of war (POWs) as manifested in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, additional psychiatric symptoms, and marital adjustment. In addition, it assessed the role of several contributors to the wives' secondary traumatization: the husband's PTSD, the level of his verbal and physical aggression, and the wife's level of self-disclosure. Methods: The study compared three groups of Israeli wives: wives of POWs with PTSD (N=18), wives of POWs without PTSD, (N=64), and a control group of wives of veterans without PTSD (N=72). Results: The highest level of distress in all measures was endorsed by the wives of POWs with PTSD. Moreover, in addition to husband's PTSD and captivity, both the man's aggression and the wife's self-disclosure played a role in the wife's level of distress. Conclusions: The findings show that the husbands' PTSD was more strongly associated with the wives' secondary traumatization than their captivity.
- Marital adjustment
- Secondary traumatization