HEALTH / WELL-BEING

The Impact of Multiple Deployments and Social Support on Stress Levels of Women Married to Active Duty Servicemen

Article

This article examines the relationship between the number of deployments and the stress levels of women married to active duty U.S. service personnel.

Abstract

Using a large-scale survey, we examined the relationship between number of deployments experienced by female spouses of active duty military members and these spouses' perceived stress. Results suggest a nonlinear relationship such that spouses who had not experienced a deployment reported the lowest stress levels. Stress levels increase after initial deployments and decrease after approximately two deployments, which may indicate an element of resiliency that builds up as spouses acclimate to a deployment lifestyle. Stress levels again increase after several deployments, which may signify limitations to this resiliency over time. A secondary finding showed that higher levels of social support predicted lower levels of stress, above and beyond the number of deployments. This relationship between social support and stress helped explain the negative relationship between parental status and stress. That is, spouses with children may have lower stress levels due to the social network that accompanies parental status.

Full Reference

Elizabeth P. Van Winkle, Rachel N. Lipari, 2013, Military Families, The Impact of Multiple Deployments and Social Support on Stress Levels of Women Married to Active Duty Servicemen., 41, 3, 395-412