This study assessed psychiatric diagnoses in female partners of Australian Vietnam veterans, compared these with national Australian population statistics, and assessed their relationship with veterans' military service and mental health. Independent assessments of 240 veteran-partner couples used standardized physical and psychiatric diagnostic interviews that permitted comparison with Australian population data. Multivariate regression modeling examined associations of veterans' war service, combat, and psychiatric status with women's mental health. Anxiety disorders and severe recurrent depression were among 11 of 17 psychiatric diagnoses that were significantly in excess of population expectations. Veterans' combat and post-traumatic stress disorder were significant predictors of women's depressive disorder, particularly severe depression. We conclude that veterans' war service and mental health sequelae including post-traumatic stress disorder are associated with higher rates of mental disorder in their female partners 3 decades after the war.
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease Vol. 198, Issue 11, p. 841-845