An Exploration of Biopsychosocial and Marital Health in Military Couples Using Heart Rate Variability

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amelia Muse (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Angela Lamson

Abstract: In the United States there are approximately 3.6 million military personnel over half of which are married. Few researchers have focused on the biological psychological and social health of military couples despite the significant presence of military couples in the U.S. and the unique experiences and stressors that military couples are faced with compared to civilian couples. One way to capture the experience of military couples is to use heart rate variability (HRV) a physiological assessment that measures an individual's stress response and relaxation. Heart rate variability captures the amount of distress experienced by an individual because it is a physiological response to biological psychological and social stress. The present study focuses on the experience of male military personnel and their female spouses. This project includes literature and analysis of biological factors (BMI blood pressure and medical diagnoses) psychological factors (emotional problems posttraumatic stress symptoms and level of global distress) social factors (family and practical problems) marital adjustment and HRV from each partner in the military couple dyad. The significant contribution of this study is the exploration of the individual biopsychosocial health of "his" (military personnel) and "her" (spouse) relationship using assessment of physiological stress through the inclusion of heart rate variability. This research provides information and analyses on the types of biopsychosocial stressors affecting military couples and how the nature of biopsychosocial health in military couples affects military marriages. Implications from this research provide data and recommendations to help health professionals and researchers better understand and serve military couples. 

Additional Information

Date: 2013
Individual & family studies, Military studies, biopsychosocial, couple, heart rate variability, marital adjustment, military

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