An Exploration of Marital Health and Stress Among Military Couples

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

Abstract: There are approximately 1.5 million active duty service members in today's military (Department of Defense [DoD] 2010) and approximately 726 000 (56.4%) of these individuals are married (DoD 2010). Although the military offers benefits for married personnel military couples also experience many hardships due to the demands from being in the armed forces (Laser & Stephens 2011) and the stressors and challenges of military life may leave military members and their spouses more at risk for marital strain. The factors that garner the most attention for disruption and positive outcomes in relationships are the presence and process of deployment changes in rank and marital and physiological stress. The present study examined how factors such as deployment rank and length of time in the service influence military personnel their spouse and their marital health (marital satisfaction adjustment and quality). This study took place within a family medicine practice on an Air Force base in the southeastern United States and data was collected from patients and their spouses using self-report measures and biomarkers (e.g. blood pressure and heart rate variability). Correlations were run to examine significant relationships between deployment rank length of time in the service physiological stress and marital satisfaction adjustment and quality. Ultimately the present study attempted to aid evidence based policy to support military couples since the deterioration of marital relationships has the ability to impact the performance of military personnel which could ultimately have an impact on national security. 

Additional Information

Date: 2013
Individual & family studies, Military studies, biopsychosocial, couples, heart rate variability, military, stress

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