Research Reports - Marital instability after brain injury

NeuroRehabilitation. 2016 Mar 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Kreutzer JS(1), Sima AP(2), Marwitz JH(3), Lukow Ii HR(3).

BACKGROUND: Spousal caregivers have an important role in recovery after brain
injury, and there is evidence that injury has an adverse impact on uninjured
partners as well as survivors. Unfortunately, the impact of brain injury on
coupled relationships has received limited attention from clinical researchers.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize marital stability after traumatic brain injury
considering the perspectives of the patient and the uninjured partner. To
identify predictors of marital stability.
METHODS: Forty-two couples with mild to severe injury completed the Marital
Status Inventory, a measure of relationship stability, and the Revised Dyadic
Adjustment Scale (RDAS), a measure of relationship quality.
RESULTS: Twenty-four percent (24%) of patients viewed their marriage as unstable
as did 29% of partners. Most individuals (72%) agreed with their partner
regarding the stability of their relationship. About half of patients (52%) and
partners (50%) reported clinically significant levels of marital dissatisfaction.
Multivariate logistic regression indicated that the RDAS was a salient predictor
of marital stability. Findings indicate relatively high levels of marital
stability despite high levels of marital distress.
CONCLUSIONS: Marital stability can be classified beyond labeling couples as
married, separated, or divorced. Researchers have suggested that postinjury
marital relationships are prone to instability and divorce in comparison to the
general population. The present findings suggest otherwise. 

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