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APA: Depression Complicates Returning Vets' Personal Lives

Depression diagnosis linked to increased risk of readjustment problems and domestic violence

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Among veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, depression -- but not post-traumatic stress disorder -- is strongly associated with discordant personal relationships, according to research presented this week at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in San Francisco, Calif.

Steven L. Sayers, Ph.D., of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, and colleagues studied 168 veterans who were referred for behavioral health evaluation. Of these, more than 40 percent were married or cohabitating, 21.4 percent were recently separated or divorced, and 54.8 percent had at least one child.

Among the married or cohabitating veterans, the researchers found that two-thirds reported thrice-weekly family readjustment or conflict problems. Among the recently separated or divorced veterans, they found that 56 percent reported severe conflicts involving "shouting, pushing or shoving."

"The number of family problems was correlated with the severity of depressive symptoms," the authors write. "Having a major or minor depression diagnosis was most consistently associated with increased risk of family adjustment and domestic abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder was not as associated with family problems as reported in existing literature."

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