Repeated, extended deployments in support of OEF/OIF/OND have important implications for not only veterans, but also their family members. While this topic is beginning to garner more attention, more research is needed on the relationship between symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), parenting factors, and family functioning among OEF/OIF/OND veterans. The present study aimed to: (1) examine the relationship between specific PTSD symptom clusters and family functioning among a sample of N = 191 treatment-seeking veteran parents who served after September 11, 2001; and (2) examine the mediating role of parenting sense of competence in this relationship.
Participants completed the PTSD Check List (PCL), the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale (PSOC), and the Family Assessment Device (FAD) as part of their initial evaluation in an outpatient mental health clinic.
Numbing and avoidance symptoms of PTSD (Criterion C; PCL_c) were associated with more problematic family functioning (r = .164, p < .05). There was a strong negative relationship between parenting competence and problematic family functioning (r = −.514, p < .001). Examination of the indirect effect of PSOC on the association between PCL_c and FAD based on 4000 bootstrapped samples revealed a significant indirect effect (point estimate = 0.0092; BCa CI = 0.0035, 0.0170), suggesting that decreased parenting sense of competence might mediate the relationship between numbing/avoidance symptoms and problematic family functioning.
Future studies confirming the central role of parenting in the relationship between PTSD symptoms and family functioning are warranted.