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Military marriages: Do adaptive processes promote marital resilience?

APA Citation:

Pullman, L., & Wang, Z. (2022). Military marriages: Do adaptive processes promote marital resilience? Military Behavioral Health, 10(2), 92-99. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2022.2098884

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study used the integrative framework of military marriage to examine how spouses’ adaptive processes (e.g., communication, problem-solving) impacted the links between relationship risk factors and marital stability in separate competing models (i.e., a mediation versus a moderation model). 702 women civilian spouses of Canadian Armed Forces members reported on their risk factors (i.e., insecure attachment, psychological distress [e.g., feeling nervous or hopeless], military context [i.e., days spent apart due to military service], financial instability), adaptive processes, marital stability (e.g., discussions of divorce/separation, overall relationship satisfaction), and demographics (e.g., age, education). Spouses with a more secure attachment style, fewer children, and more financial stability reported better adaptive processes, and, in turn, greater perceived marital stability.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

International Military

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Spouse of service member or veteran


Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Quantitative Study
Cross sectional study


Pullman, Lesleigh, Wang, Zhigang


A variety of factors can influence job performance and retention of military personnel, including family-related stress and satisfaction. Maintaining satisfying romantic relationships can be challenging for all couples, but the military lifestyle adds unique challenges that military couples must overcome. Our study included 702 female civilian spouses of Canadian Armed Forces members. We examined a selection of enduring traits, emergent traits, relationship resources, military experiences, and nonmilitary circumstances to predict perceived marital stability and the mediating and interactive influence of adaptive processes. We found that adaptive processes mediated the relationship between select risk factors and perceived marital stability. A less insecure attachment style, a lower degree of financial instability, and fewer children were all associated with better adaptive processes, which was in turn associated with more perceived marital stability. Current deployment did not influence these results, nor did adaptive processes moderate the relationship between any risk factor and perceived marital stability. These findings suggest that promoting healthy and positive spousal interactions, communications, and support among military couples may mitigate the risk associated with a variety of military and nonmilitary challenges that military marriages face.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Canada Department of National Defence, LP
Canada Department of National Defence, ZW


marriage, resilience, attachment styles

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  December 2022

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