The role of marital adjustment in suicidal ideation among former prisoners of war and their wives: A longitudinal dyadic study.

Objective: Posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) are implicated in high suicidality and low levels of marital quality among traumatized veterans and their wives. However, the role of marital quality in suicidal ideation (SI) of war veterans and their spouses remains relatively unexplored. The current study examined the longitudinal associations between marital adjustment and SI among ex-prisoners of war (ex-POWs) and their wives. Method: Through opportunistic data collection, a sample of 233 Israeli couples (142 ex-POW couples and a comparison group of 91 veteran couples) were assessed at 2 time points: Time 1 (T1; 2003) and Time 2 (T2; 2008), 30 and 35 years after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Participants completed self-report measures of PTSS, depression, dyadic adjustment, and SI. Results: Among both husbands and wives, higher levels of marital adjustment were related to lower levels of SI. Surprisingly, an actor-partner interdependence modeling analysis revealed that for both ex-POW and control groups, husband’s marital adjustment moderated the contribution of his PTSS to his SI, while controlling for prior SI in T1. Moreover, only for control couples did the husbands’ marital adjustment moderate the wives’ PTSS contribution to the husbands’ SI. Conclusions: Ex-POWs’ and their wives’ marital adjustment are longitudinally related to their SI. Improving couples’ marital adjustment may buffer the detrimental implications that both partners’ PTSS bears for veterans’ SI. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)