Talk to Me: Disclosure of Past Trauma Experiences to Spouses in Military Couples

July, 2016

This study aimed to further explore trauma disclosure in participants with previous trauma experiences, specifically high and low trauma disclosure levels. This mixed methods study used a sample of 50 male post 9/11 veterans and their 50 female spouses. The sample were sorted into two groups; high trauma disclosure and low trauma disclosure.  The study found there were differences between high and low disclosure groups  in relationship adjustment, primarily positive functioning and negative effects.


Trauma disclosure in interpersonal relationships has received limited attention in both clinical and empirical literature. In the current study, using a mixed method research design, participants’ disclosure levels were coded based on their interview descriptions of their disclosure of trauma experiences to their spouse. Participants were classified into one of two groups: low trauma disclosure (n=16) or high trauma disclosure (n=55). The low disclosure group reported significantly lower relationship adjustment than the high disclosure group. In addition, using qualitative methods, the high disclosure group participants reported primarily positive functioning themes, while the low disclosure group participants reported more negative effects.

Full Reference

Nelson Goff, B. S., Hartman, K., Perkins, D., Summers, K., Walker, L., & Monk, J. K. (2016). Talk to Me: Disclosure of Past Trauma Experiences to Spouses in Military Couples. Journal of Veterans Studies, 1(1), 98–128. DOI:

Report a problem with this article