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Why this research?

April 3, 2011
by Cynthia J'Anthony

Numerous studies have researched the adverse impact military combat has on the behavioral health problems of military combat soldiers.  However, there is limited research evaluating the level of marital distress after the soldier returns from military combat deployment and the behavioral health of their spouses associated with marital distress.  There is also insufficient research on the Reserve Component soldiers and their families.  Such data could be helpful in enhancing services to veterans and their families.

The Army Reserve Component is composed of the Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve.  There are differences between the Reserve Component and other military branches that make these populations unique.  One difference is that they live in civilian communities rather than on a military base.  As such, military family support may be less accessible but, on the other hand, support from community and family members may be more available than for families who live on base.  This study evaluates the association between marital distress and behavioral health issues in Guard and Reserve spouses and the helpfulness of social support through the community (family and friends) and through military family support services.

This study will be used to inform the public and policy makers about the challenges (i.e., marital distress and behavioral health issues) faced by spouses of Army National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers who have returned from OEF/OIF deployment.  The study will also be used to inform the public and policy makers about the community and military family support service needs of this population.  This information will be made available through journal articles, presentations, and papers.  In addition, it is expected that this study will open up many new questions regarding the challenges and needs of Army National Guard and Army Reserve spouses and therefore the study will be used as a guide in determining further research needs.

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  1. April 13, 2011 11:41 am

    While working in a Canadian mental health clinic I spoke to numerous ex-wives of armed forces personnel. If their husbands contracted PTSD they became very difficult to live with. Eventually their wives ran out of patience and left, usually with the children. The soldiers then faced their symptoms alone unless they had the courage to seek counselling. Obviously all soldiers and their families should be involved in the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program. Without substantial emotional support both male and female soldiers are vulnerable to chronic mental health problems leading to high rates of suicide, divorce and addictions.

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