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Operational stress injuries and the mental health and well-being of veteran spouses: A scoping review

APA Citation:

Norris, D., Eichler, M., Cramm, H., Tam‐Seto, L., & Smith‐Evans, K. (2018). Operational Stress Injuries and the Mental Health and Well‐Being of Veteran Spouses: A Scoping Review. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 10(3), 657-671. https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12283

Abstract Created by REACH:

Operational stress injuries (OSIs) are injuries in service members resulting from exposure to stressful events, including physical injuries or mental health disorders (e.g., traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder). The family adjustment and adaptation response (FAAR) model is a framework that conceptualizes how families are influenced by demands (i.e., stressful life events); it also accounts for the different capabilities families utilize (i.e., strengths) and meanings families make (i.e., attitudes towards stressors, view of the world, etc.) to adjust and adapt (i.e., overcome stress). This article reviews the literature (144 articles) on the association between service members’ OSIs and the well-being of their spouses. Authors organized results using the FAAR model structure, highlighting demands, capabilities, and meanings related to service members’ OSIs and spouse outcomes. Findings suggest that OSIs tend to adversely affect spouses’ mental health and military couples’ relationships. However, service members and spouses who draw on strengths, such as empathy or problem-solving skills, typically adapt to the demands OSIs place on families.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member
Military families
Spouse of service member or veteran


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)


Review of Literature


Norris, Deborah, Eichler, Maya, Cramm, Heidi, Tam‐Seto, Linna, Smith‐Evans, Kimberley


This article presents the results of a scoping review of literature focusing on the relationship between operational stress injuries (OSIs) in military veterans and spousal mental health and well-being. Using elements of the family adjustment and adaptation response (FAAR) model as an organizing framework, the research reviewed focuses on the demands the OSIs place on the family system, as well as related capabilities and meanings, and how these demands have an impact on the spouse and the marital relationship.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

John Wiley & Sons

Publication Type:

REACH Publication
Featured Research

Author Affiliation:

Mount Saint Vincent University, DN
Mount Saint Vincent University, ME
Queen's University, HC
Queen's University, LTS
Mount Saint Vincent University, KSE


mental health, family adjustment, operational stress injury, veteran spouses

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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