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Spousal psychological health: The role of military spouse health and protective factors

APA Citation:

Skomorovsky, A., Chamberland, J., & Wan, C. (2022). Spousal psychological health: The role of military spouse health and protective factors. Military Behavioral Health, 10(2), 79-91. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2022.2067920

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study examined how risk factors (i.e., Service members’ mental and physical health) and protective factors, specifically different types of social support, were associated with military spouses’ well-being (i.e., life satisfaction and psychological distress). 130 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Service members and their spouses (N = 260 individuals) completed questionnaires. Service members reported on their own psychological distress; spouses reported on the health of their Service member, perceived support from the Service member, relationship quality, life satisfaction, and psychological distress. Overall, Service members’ psychological distress was directly and indirectly related to spouses’ well-being. In a separate model focused on protective factors, spouses who perceived more support from their Service member also reported higher relationship quality and, in turn, better personal well-being.


Physical health
Mental health

Branch of Service:

International Military

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Spouse of service member or veteran
Active duty service member


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


Cross sectional study
Quantitative Study


Skomorovsky, Alla, Chamberland, Justin, Wan, Cynthia


Military spouses play an important role in enabling military operational effectiveness. Studies show that poor physical and psychological health among military members negatively impacts the well-being of their spouses. However, little is known about the main challenges and protective factors related to the well-being of military spouses dealing with ill or injured military members. Existing research has mostly focused on one perspective—either military members’ or spousal. Therefore, this quantitative study was conducted with a matched (member and spouse) sample (N = 130). The aim of the research was to understand the role of military members’ illness from both the members’ and spousal perspectives, as well as the role of protective factors, including relationship quality and social support, in the well-being of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) spouses. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that members’ psychological health predicted the psychological health of military spouses. Analyses also revealed that spousal perception of the relationship quality was a key predictor of spousal life satisfaction and psychological distress.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of National Defence, AS
Department of National Defence, JC
Department of National Defence, CW


military spouse, protective factors, social support

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  November 2022

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