Examination of relationship satisfaction in post-deployment Latino soldiers returning from combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
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This report examines the state of research regarding the psychological impact of war on American soldiers deployed in military operations in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom). Particular focus is given to examination of marital and relationship satisfaction within the Hispanic soldier and veteran population. A wide range of research examines the traumatic aftereffects of wartime service with predominant themes of posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse appearing across the literature. Examination of the Hispanic population is disputed with researchers producing conflicting findings: some researchers have indicated an increased risk of psychological disturbances in Hispanic wartime veterans while other have found no such difference between the Hispanic and majority groups. Attempts to explain these discrepant results have ranged from differences in acculturation, to potentially increased traumatic exposure, or to underlying feelings of persecution and alienation. However, consistent results were found in regards to the negative relationship between traumatic exposure and romantic relationship satisfaction. Younger males of lower socioeconomic status with increased trauma exposure and comorbid mental health diagnoses consistently reported less relationship satisfaction than their peers. Given the nature of family and the importance of close relationships within the Hispanic culture, it is increasingly necessary for clinicians working with Hispanic veterans to be aware of these findings. This author purposes that future researchers explore this concept of relationship satisfaction within the Hispanic veteran population with attention given to potentially mediating variables such as level of acculturation and traumatic experience exposure.