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Marriage and divorce after military deployment to Afghanistan: A matched cohort study from Sweden

February, 2019
Article:

Sweden contributed troops to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2013. This study investigated marriage and divorce after deployment among the Swedish military veterans from this operation. The veterans were compared with matched controls from the general population. The results showed that the military veterans were more likely to divorce and less likely to marry after deployment compared with the controls.

Abstract

To investigate the probability of marriage and divorce among Swedish military veterans deployed to Afghanistan relative to non-deployed matched comparators. Military veterans were identified through Swedish military personnel registers regarding foreign deployments, and comparators from the Military Service Conscription Register (1969–2013). Of 1,882,411 eligible conscripts, 7041 had served in Afghanistan at some point in time between 2002 and 2013. To each military veteran, up to 5 non-deployed comparators who underwent conscription were matched by age, sex, psychological assessment, cognitive ability, psychiatric history and social characteristics. After matching there were 4896 (82%) unmarried and 1069 (18%) married deployed military veterans. The main outcome was marriage or divorce after deployment to Afghanistan. Data on marital status were retrieved from Statistics Sweden until December 31, 2014. During a median follow-up of 4.1 years after deployment of married individuals, 124 divorces were observed among deployed military veterans and 399 in the matched non-deployed comparator cohort (277 vs. 178 per 10,000 person-years; adjusted hazard ratio 1.61, 95%CI 1.31–1.97). During a median follow-up of 4.7 years after deployment in the unmarried cohort, 827 new marriages were observed among deployed military veterans and 4363 in the matched non-deployed comparators cohort (399 vs. 444 per 10,000 person-years; adjusted hazard ratio 0.89, 95%CI 0.83–0.96). Military veterans were more likely to divorce and less likely to marry after deployment compared with matched non-deployed comparators.

Full Reference

Pethrus CM, Reutfors J, Johansson K, et al., 2019. Marriage and divorce after military deployment to Afghanistan: A matched cohort study from Sweden. PLoS One, 14(2):e0207981.

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