Updated Jul 9, 2012 - 1:55 pm
Study: Military spouses suffer PTS symptoms
PHOENIX -- A new study from Johns Hopkins University said civilian spouses of combat veterans suffer the same post-traumatic stress symptoms that are felt by sailors and soldiers returning from war.
The study found the trauma felt by civilian partners places families at increased risk of marital trouble, substance abuse and divorce.
Shelly Vickers of Phoenix is happily married to a sailor stationed in Afghanistan. They've been together for almost two decades and she said that gives them more strength than perhaps a younger couple just starting their lives together.
"A new young couple hasn't had the chance to establish a relationship. We've been together for a long time," she said.
But Vickers added the time apart is challenging. "Doing it all by myself, playing mom and dad."
She can understand the stress that deployment places on couples. It was difficult reconnecting with her husband after his five months in boot camp when he joined the Navy.
"We had to try to switch everything around to when he was here before. You have to get into a new pattern."
Vickers said technology such as Skype video-calling makes connecting with her husband much easier and that's a big comfort.
"We can see him and talk to him and tell him about our day which makes things easier but also when certain things happen it's not like I can pick up a phone and call him immediately."
And she said deployments are tough on the children.
"Having two young sons that are close to their father, they go hunting and fishing and to the baseball games. All the guy things and all of a sudden dad is gone."
Jim Cross, Reporter