This research explores the relationship between positive mental health (PMH) and factors relating to family and household, and social support within this context.
The characteristics of one's social environment, including one's family or household composition, are recognized determinants of health and well-being. At the same time, a great deal of research has demonstrated the positive effect of social support on mental health in military populations. Without accounting for levels of social support, it was found that service members who were married or in a common-law relationship demonstrated higher PMH, while those who were separated or divorced demonstrated lower PMH compared to their single counterparts. PMH also differed by living arrangement, with higher levels reported by service members living with others. Further analysis revealed that greater PMH reported by service members who were married or in a common-law relationship or who live with others could be attributed to their higher levels of social support. Taken together, results emphasize the importance of social support as one of the mechanisms involved in the relationship between PMH and family/household composition. Given the limited research available on the combined effect of a variety of family/household factors, results of this work fill an important gap in the literature on the understanding of more complex relationships among these factors.
Family/household characteristics and positive mental health of Canadian military members: mediation through social support. Megan E. Therrien, Isabelle Richer, Jennifer E.C. Lee, Kimberley Watkins, and Mark A. Zamorski. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 2016 2:2, 8-20.