Elizabeth S. Allen's research while affiliated with University of Denver and other places

Publications (52)

Article
Spouses/partners play a crucial role in providing support to military service members (SMs), maintaining a sense of stability for the family, and supporting the overall mission of the armed forces. However, several aspects of the military lifestyle may impact their own psychological health. Much research has focused on the role of SMs' deployments...
Article
Full-text available
Romantic partners’ accommodation of trauma survivors’ posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms (e.g., participating in avoidance and safety behaviors, not expressing one’s thoughts and feelings) is a putative mechanism linking PTSD symptoms and partner distress, but this hypothesis has never been empirically tested. The current study investiga...
Article
The objective of this study was to predict marital instability from a range of risk and protective factors in a large, representative cohort of military couples participating in the Millennium Cohort Family Study. Online and paper surveys were administered to service members and their spouses in 2011-2013, which captured couples' demographic and ba...
Article
When service members manifest symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intimate partners may engage in behaviors to accommodate their partners’ experiences (e.g., helping service members avoid situations that could make them uncomfortable, not expressing own thoughts and feelings to minimize PTSD‐related conflict), which may inadvertently...
Article
In general, a sense of understanding and connection is an important aspect of marital relationships. In the context of military couples in which a service member may have symptoms of PTSD, spouses' understanding of the nature and causes of service member PTSD symptoms may be protective for both partners' marital satisfaction. However, partners may...
Article
Emerging research reinforces the importance of partner accommodation in the interpersonal context of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A better understanding of partners' motivations for accommodation is needed to help refine or design interventions that target accommodation. To explore partners' motivations, we created the Reasons for Accommod...
Article
To minimize potential distractions for deployed military service members (SMs), some nondeployed romantic partners have reported engaging in protective buffering, or intentionally withholding information or concerns to protect their deployed partner. This study assessed the associations of protective buffering and psychological distress and marital...
Article
Full-text available
Severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms has been linked to parenting impairments in military service members (SMs), but little is known about how SMs’ PTSD is related to their partners’ parenting. This study evaluated associations of SMs’ PTSD symptoms with parenting indices in SMs and their partners, with additional exploratory a...
Article
To shield a romantic partner from potential distress due to stressors occurring during deployment, service members (SMs) may engage in protective buffering, or withholding information or concerns from a romantic partner. This study utilized data from 54 couples collected before, during, and after a military deployment to assess whether SMs engaged...
Article
Many service members in need of mental health treatment do not seek such treatment. This study investigated the frequency of Army soldiers’ exposure to specific types of deployment stressors and whether different event-types were associated with willingness to seek and actual receipt of treatment. Male soldiers who were married (n = 600) completed...
Article
Couple therapy has been shown to be a meaningful way to improve couples' relationships. However, less information is known about couples' functioning prior to entering treatment in community settings, as well as how their relationship functioning changes from initiating therapy onward. This study examined 87 couples who began community-based couple...
Article
Service members (SMs) returning from deployment are at risk of a range of sexual problems, some of which are thought to be related to psychological issues that may arise during deployment or combat. The current study sought to examine whether exposure to potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) was associated with sexual anxiety (SA) above and...
Article
en This study examined the within‐family and between‐family associations between fathers’ military‐related PTSD symptoms and parent ratings of children's behavioral and emotional problems. The sample included married couples (N = 419) with children composed of a civilian wife and an active‐duty husband serving in the U.S. Army. Results indicate tha...
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Long-distance communication has been frequently identified as essential to military couples trying to maintain their relationship during a deployment. Little quantitative research, however, has assessed the types of topics discussed during such communication and how those topics relate to overall relationship satisfaction. The current study draws o...
Article
Using data from 570 male service members and their wives, the current study investigated over-time associations between male service members’ self-report of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and marital functioning (marital satisfaction, positive bonding, conflict behavior) as perceived by both spouses. Analyses spanned 5 time points ov...
Article
In prior research, having traits consistent with a personality disorder has been shown to be related to substance use and high-risk sexual activity; however, few studies have examined relationships between dependency traits and health-jeopardizing behaviors. Individuals with traits consistent with dependent personality disorder may be more likely t...
Article
After completing a relationship education program, collecting participant evaluations of the program is common practice. These are generally used as an index of “consumer satisfaction” with the program, with implications for feasibility and quality. Rarely have these ratings been used as predictors of changes in marital quality, although such feedb...
Poster
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in service members (SMs) are associated with poorer parenting practices and a lower parenting alliance after deployment (Allen et al., 2010; Gewirtz et al., 2010). Surprisingly little is known, however, about the partner’s parenting experience in the post-deployment environment, especially in relati...
Article
Full-text available
This study clarifies within-family and between-family links between marital functioning and child well-being. Expanding on existing prospective research, this study tests whether changes in parents' marital functioning are associated with corresponding changes in their children's well-being, independent from associations that exist when comparing d...
Presentation
Despite the documented link between perceived support and PTSD severity, minimal research has looked beyond survivors’ perceptions to others’ reports of provided support. Because self-report measures may reflect an actual lack of support or a biased perception, it may be important to also assess perceptions of the individuals providing support to s...
Article
Forgiveness has been associated with multiple benefits for individuals as well as for relationships. Mindfulness may facilitate an individual’s forgiveness of interpersonal betrayal by enhancing emotional recovery and perspective taking and reducing overidentification with anger. The current study evaluated whether higher levels of self-reported mi...
Article
This study tested whether relationship education (i.e., the Prevention and Relationship Education Program; PREP) can mitigate the risk of having cohabited before making a mutual commitment to marry (i.e., "precommitment cohabitation") for marital distress and divorce. Using data from a study of PREP for married couples in the U.S. Army (N = 662 cou...
Article
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Military spouses often have concerns regarding the impact of their communication on soldiers during deployment. However, literature is mixed regarding how communication between soldiers and spouses may impact soldiers' self-reported work functioning during deployment, suggesting the need to evaluate moderating factors. In the current study, three r...
Article
To help address the relationship needs of service members, there have been a number of programs offered within active duty and veteran contexts. One program, offered within the Strong Bonds portfolio delivered by Army Chaplains, is PREP for Strong Bonds (PREP = the Prevention and Relationship Education Program). PREP has a number of empirically bas...
Article
This study examined the effectiveness of an evidence-based, community-delivered adaptation of couple relationship education (CRE) program (specifically, The Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program [PREP]) delivered at two Army installations. The study is a randomized controlled trial with 2 years of follow-up examining marital quality and s...
Article
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Post-traumatic distress after military combat is a major cost of war. One under-investigated factor potentially associated with PTSD symptoms is specific beliefs about one's military service. This study examined post-deployment self-reports from 272 active-duty U.S. Army soldiers, to investigate potential associations between military-related PTSD...
Article
The vast numbers of military service members who have been deployed since 2001 highlights the need to better understand relationships of military couples. A unique consideration in military couples is the concept of meaningfulness of service, or the value service members and their partners place on military service in spite of the sacrifices it req...
Article
The association of service members' combat-related PTSD with partners' distress is weaker when spouses/partners believe that service members experienced more traumatic events during deployment. Also, when simultaneously examining partners' perceptions of all PTSD symptoms, perceptions of reexperiencing symptoms (the symptoms most obviously connecte...
Article
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The study presents findings from interviews of 52 divorced individuals who received the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) while engaged to be married. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the study sought to understand participant reasons for divorce (including identification of the "final straw") in order to unders...
Article
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Few studies provide specific rates of marital divorce or separation in association with a history of infidelity. Research based primarily from clinical or help-seeking populations suggests that most couples who have experienced infidelity do not divorce within the time frames assessed. Using self-reported history of extramarital sex (EMS), divorce,...
Article
Using a sample of unmarried individuals in opposite-sex romantic relationships that was representative of the United States (N = 933), the current study prospectively evaluated predictors of extradyadic sexual involvement (ESI) over 20 months (from 2007-2010). Data were collected with self-report questionnaires via U.S. mail. Participants were 18 t...
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While existing literature has begun to explore risk factors which may predict differential response to marriage education, a history of couple infidelity has not been examined to determine whether infidelity moderates the impacts of marriage education. The current study evaluated self-report marital satisfaction and communication skills in a sample...
Article
Although relationship distress and dissolution are common consequences of sexual involvement outside a committed relationship, there is little empirical information regarding communication behaviors of couples who have experienced extradyadic involvement (EDI). This study examined male and female demand and withdraw behaviors in videotaped conflict...
Article
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Although earlier studies have demonstrated promising effects of relationship education for military couples, these studies have lacked random assignment. The current study evaluated the short-term effects of relationship education for Army couples in a randomized clinical trial at two sites (476 couples at Site 1 and 184 couples at Site 2). At both...
Article
Full-text available
Social support, including support from spouses, may buffer against posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The current study assessed whether the frequency of spousal communication during a recent deployment, a potentially important source of support for soldiers, was related to postdeployment PTSD symptoms. Data came from 193 married male A...
Article
Military couples who have experienced deployment and reintegration in current U.S. military operations frequently experience stress regarding the dangers and effects of such experiences. The current study evaluated a sample of 300 couples with an active duty Army husband and civilian spouse who experienced a deployment within the year before the su...
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Full-text available
Combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is linked with elevated psychological distress in service members'/veterans' spouses. Researchers use a variety of terms to describe this distress, and recently, secondary traumatic stress and secondary traumatic stress disorder (STS/STSD) have become increasingly commonly used. Although STS/STSD...
Article
Using a sample of 434 couples consisting of active duty Army husbands married to civilian wives, relationships between recent deployment, current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and a range of marital outcomes were investigated. Self-reports from both husbands and wives regarding relationship functioning did not differ between couple...
Article
Findings from a large, randomized controlled trial of couple education are presented in this brief report. Married Army couples were assigned to either PREP for Strong Bonds (n = 248) delivered by Army chaplains or to a no-treatment control group (n = 228). One year after the intervention, couples who received PREP for Strong Bonds had 1/3 the rate...
Article
Premarital precursors of infidelity were evaluated in a sample of 72 couples (N = 144) who were taking part in a longitudinal study of marriage. Premarital self-report and observational data were compared for couples who experienced infidelity and those who did not experience infidelity in the first years of marriage. Couples in which the male enga...
Article
The goal of the current study was to explore how participants' recollection of their level of emotional involvement with an extradyadic partner related to the precipitants and outcomes of that involvement. Three hundred and forty-five undergraduates and 115 community individuals with a history of extradyadic involvement completed self-report measur...
Article
Patterns of extradyadic involvement (EDI) were assessed for three samples: an undergraduate dating sample and a community marital sample reporting on an actual experience of EDI, and an undergraduate sample which denied recent EDI and was asked to imagine a hypothetical experience of EDI. Good consistency of responses within and between measures wa...
Article
When a partner has been unfaithful, an important therapeutic task is to assess factors that contributed to the affair and that may affect the individual's and couple's healing. This article provides a framework to assess multiple factors and their influence on an affair over time, as well as on responses to an affair. We address factors related to...
Article
The effectiveness of marriage education was evaluated in two separate samples of primarily married couples in which at least one member of the couple was on active duty in the U.S. Army. The intervention was delivered by Army chaplains. Effects replicated well in the two samples, and demonstrated that marriage education was well received by this po...
Article
Full-text available
Extramarital involvement (EMI) occurs with high prevalence among couples in clinical and community settings, frequently resulting in considerable distress both to participants and their spouses. The field lacks a synthesized review of this literature. Without such a synthesis, it has been difficult for researchers and clinicians to have an understa...
Article
Extramarital involvement (EMI) occurs with high prevalence among couples in clinical and community settings, frequently resulting in considerable distress both to participants and their spouses. The field lacks a synthesized review of this literature. Without such a synthesis, it has been difficult for researchers and clinicians to have an understa...
Article
Relationships between patterns of extradyadic involvement (EDI) and adult attachment were examined separately with undergraduates and community adults reporting prior EDI. Those with fearful or preoccupied styles reported more intimacy motivations for EDI, and undergraduates with these styles also reported more self-esteem motivations. Conversely,...
Article
The current study evaluated differences between remarried and first-married individuals in communication and standards for autonomy and decision-making power using self-report data from 111 remarried and 111 matched first-married spouses. Remarried spouses endorsed more autonomous standards in childrearing and finances. Also, remarried women endors...
Article
This longitudinal study predicted marital outcome from communication skills gained from participation in the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP; H. J. Markman, S. L. Blumberg & S. M. Stanley, 1989; Stanley et al., 2001) by 39 women and 38 men. Results were in the expected direction for men but not for women. Men's pre- to posttes...

Citations

... Studies of military couples that investigated the associations between SMs' PTSD symptoms and partners' accommodation on a day-to-day basis or over periods of months indeed found evidence supporting the theorized link between the two. That is, the extent to which partners accommodate is prospectively predicted by the severity of SMs' symptoms (Allen et al., 2021;Campbell et al., 2017). ...
... Les donné es issues de cette revue de la question suggè rent qu'il est essentiel de prendre en compte l'accommodation familiale en pratique clinique, que ce soit auprè s d'adultes ou d'enfants. Il est clair qu'un haut niveau d'accommodation est un facteur aggravant de la sé vé rité du trouble, et cela pas uniquement dans le cas des TOC mais aussi pour tous les troubles basé s sur la peur [50] voire pour d'autres pathologies dans lesquelles l'accommodation familiale a é té mise en é vidence, tels les troubles du spectre autistique [58], la dé pression [34], les troubles des conduites alimentaires [19], le trouble de stress post-traumatique [45], les TIC [56] ou encore la douleur chronique [26]. De plus, et du fait de l'impact né gatif sur le succè s des thé rapies d'un haut degré d'AF, il nous semble justifié d'inclure de maniè re systé matique dans les é valuations cliniques pré -traitement, et ce quel que soit le type d'intervention proposé (psychothé rapie et/ou pharmacothé rapie), une é valuation de l'AF. ...
... Returning service members and their partners experienced declines in anxiety across 8 months post-deployment, and anxiety declined more rapidly among partners with higher constructive communication than those with less constructive communication (Knobloch et al., 2018); those with greater generalized anxiety were more likely to avoid talking about reintegration and their relationship than their less anxious counterparts (Knobloch et al., 2013). Withholding information was linked with lower relationship satisfaction for both service members and partners during deployment (Carter et al., 2020). ...
... All military members that are deployed on a mission (regardless of the type of mission) have some extent of mission stress that will make it difficult to reintegrate into the family and civilian life . The stress associated with the absence often continues in this phase, with the challenge of reintegration of the absent member into the family (Carter et al., 2019;Moelker & Van der Kloet, 2006). Upon return, the military members may show symptoms of depression, anxiety, acute stress, and even post-traumatic stress disorders (Johnson et al., 2007;Sheppard et al., 2010). ...
... 1,3,4 Less is known about how families navigate reintegration, the period after a deployment. 2 This period may also be associated with adverse outcomes for military spouses and children, including distress and family disruption. [5][6][7] However, factors contributing to successful navigation of the reintegration phase are less well understood. Using a family resilience framework, 1 this study considers the influence of risk factors, including military spouse depression and perceptions of service member mental health treatment needs, and protective factors, including social support and reintegration training, on spouses' subjective sense of preparedness for reintegration and on perceptions of the length of the reintegration period. ...
... Military workplaces present constant challenges and permanent stressful conditions and situations that require action in highly uncertain circumstances with a lack of time and a high cost of mistakes (M. A. Wilson et al., 2021;Lo Bue, 2015;Kokun et al., 2022). These stressful working conditions significantly worsen during a deployment in a war zone, where the danger level and responsibility for others' lives and health are even higher (Castro, 2014;Kokun et al., 2020;Muse et al., 2019;Paige et al., 2019). The influence of stresses on military personnel can be redoubled by engagement in hostilities, witnessing violent acts, or the need to make immediate decisions that may violate an individual's moral code and personal values (Richardson et al., 2020). ...
... In our model, we did not include therapist as a level because it was not possible to have a reliable estimate of therapist effect as a level due to a small sample size and the large number of therapists. Although piecewise models allow testing hypotheses on level change which represents change in mean level at a particular time point (Owen et al., 2019), we assumed only change in slope in this study, which represents improvement from pre-to posttreatment and maintenance in the follow-up period. TC had a large number of missing data (A total n = 63; missing data = 28 to 38 for any one TC) because patients listed TCs at the end of treatment that did not match those they had listed at pretreatment. ...
... 6 Childhood sexual abuse was assessed using one item from the Juvenile Victim Questionnaire (JVQ) that ask sexual abuse before age 18. 7 Childhood trauma was assessed using three items from the JVQ that ask about neglect, verbal abuse, physical abuse before age 18. 8 Medical diagnosis of heart disease (i.e., coronary heart disease, heart attack, angina), hypertension, or diabetes in the previous three years. 1 All were assessed at Time 1. 2 Self-reported sexual health difficulties was indicated if "bothered a lot" was endorsed to "During the last 4 weeks, how much have you been bothered by any of the following problems? ...
... Parental PTSD is of particular clinical importance, both for clinicians working in adult and child mental health services, given the impact this has on both parties (Scheeringa & Zeanah, 2001). By nature of the diagnostic criteria, PTSD is a debilitating condition which impacts on an individuals' general functioning, however, PTSD in parents is also associated with poorer functioning in their children, through higher incidence of child emotional and behavioural problems (Parsons et al., 2018). Detection of early identifiable factors associated with PTSD in parents could, if offered the appropriate treatment, reduce the likelihood of long-term adverse impacts for both parents and children. ...
... Spouses of veterans with PTSD may experience a multitude of negative psychological outcomes (e.g. depression, anxiety and secondary traumatic stress) in addition to increased caregiver burden and decreased relationship satisfaction (Allen, Knopp, Rhoades, Stanley, & Markman, 2018;Bergmann, Renshaw, Allen, Markman, & Stanley, 2014;Caska & Renshaw, 2011;Frey, Blackburn, Werner-Wilson, Parker, & Wood, 2011;Goff, Crow, Reisbig, & Hamilton, 2007). When a veteran is diagnosed with PTSD, increased levels of maladjustment in both marriages and families post-deployment have been reported (Dekel & Monson, 2010). ...