Associations between perceptions of military stressors, mental health, and marital adjustment in military spouses
Szarzynski, Amanda G.
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Since the events of September 11, 2001, almost all active duty military personnel have been deployed at least once, with many assigned to multiple deployments. In addition to the stress a deployment puts on a military family, many soldiers come home from deployments with PTSD symptoms. These stressors are specific to the unique culture of the military, and it would be beneficial to gain understanding in regards to the relationship these stressors have with military spouses’ mental health and marital adjustment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between military-related stressors, specifically partner’s deployment and PTSD, mental health, and marital adjustment in military spouses. Spouses of active duty and veteran service members were recruited to participate in an online survey. Despite the intention to recruit both male and female military spouses, the final sample (N=133) was almost entirely female (98%) and ethnically homogenous (86% White). Structural equation modeling was used to analyze this data, and results suggest a good-fitting model with several significant paths. In the context of a model with the total number of deployments since being married, spouses’ perceptions of their partners’ PTSD symptoms, spouses’ mental health, and spouses’ marital adjustment, mental health was significantly predicted by the total number of deployments and partners’ PTSD. In the same model, spouses’ marital adjustment was significantly predicted by their mental health and perceptions of their partners’ PTSD symptoms. The total numbers of partners’ deployments did not significantly predict participants’ marital adjustment or perceptions of their partners’ PTSD symptoms. Discussion of clinical implications and directions for future research are included.