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While they are at war: Stress and coping in Army National Guard spouses

Angela R Wheeler, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Objective. Utilization of Army National Guard troops in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan represent a critical change in the mission requirements for the Reserve branches of the military. Although much prior research has documented the impact of deployment in the lives of active duty military families, little is known about the impact of unexpected, wartime deployments in lives of Army National Guard spouses. Method . This study utilizes survey research to understand the impact of deployment in the lives of Nebraska Army National Guard spouses. This work was guided by prior qualitative research I conducted with this same population, as well as previous literature and theory (life stress perspective and community context model), to develop five study hypotheses. Surveys from 406 spouses (response rate of 45%) were used in analyses, after missing data were accounted for. OLS and logistic regression were used to test the study hypotheses. Results. Analyses showed that stressors (characteristics of deployment) were positively related to depressive and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Marital satisfaction was found to mediate the relationship between deployment status and the mental health symptoms. Additionally, community support was found to moderate the relationship between military rank and marital satisfaction. Conclusion. Results show that the characteristics of deployment are important predictors of mental health symptoms in Army National Guard spouses and that community support and marital satisfaction may play key roles in these outcomes. Directions for future research and policy implication are discussed.^

Subject Area

Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Military Studies

Recommended Citation

Wheeler, Angela R, "While they are at war: Stress and coping in Army National Guard spouses" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3360165.