Psychiatric distress among spouses of National Guard soldiers prior to combat deployment

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17 Scopus citations


Background: The mental health functioning of military spouses and intimate partners prior to the combat deployments of their loved ones is poorly studied. Aims: Whereas service members and veterans often receive healthcare directly from the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs, family members may be more likely to present in family care settings. An understanding of mental health problems commonly occurring in this population is therefore important. Method: National Guard soldiers and their spouses or cohabitating partners (n = 223 couples) were surveyed about mental health symptoms, social functioning and mental health service utilisation one to two months prior to a combat deployment to Afghanistan. Results: Screening rates for partner post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, alcohol problems and social impairment were 2.4, 15.3, 3.7 and 10.7%, respectively, and were significantly higher for partners than soldiers with regards to depression and social impairment. The majority of partners screening positive for psychiatric distress did not report utilisingmental health services or military support services (i.e. family readiness groups). Clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalMental Health in Family Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Combat deployment
  • Deployment cycle
  • Depression
  • Family well-being
  • PTSD


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