Combat disclosure in intimate relationships: mediating the impact of partner support on posttraumatic stress. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although previous research has shown a negative relation between partner support and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity among military service members following deployment, the mediating mechanisms of this effect remain poorly understood. This study examined willingness to disclose deployment- and combat-related experiences as a mediating mechanism underlying the linkage between intimate partner support and PTSD symptom severity in a sample of 76 U.S. Air Force service members deployed to Iraq in a year-long, high-risk mission. Airmen's reports of overall social support, and partner support specifically, significantly predicted concurrent postdeployment PTSD symptom severity. Subsequent mediation analyses demonstrated that level of disclosure of deployment- and combat-related experiences by service members to their intimate partners accounted for a significant portion of the relation between partner support and postdeployment PTSD symptom severity. The level of Airmen's disclosure was also inversely related to levels of relationship distress. Implications of these findings for prevention and intervention strategies and for further research are discussed.

published proceedings

  • J Fam Psychol

altmetric score

  • 5

author list (cited authors)

  • Balderrama-Durbin, C., Snyder, D. K., Cigrang, J., Talcott, G. W., Tatum, J., Baker, M., ... Smith Slep, A. M.

citation count

  • 59

complete list of authors

  • Balderrama-Durbin, Christina||Snyder, Douglas K||Cigrang, Jeffrey||Talcott, G Wayne||Tatum, JoLyn||Baker, Monty||Cassidy, Daniel||Sonnek, Scott||Heyman, Richard E||Smith Slep, Amy M

publication date

  • August 2013