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Perceived burden in spouses of National Guard/Reserve service members deployed during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom

APA Citation:

Caska, C. M., & Renshaw, K. D. (2011). Perceived burden in spouses of National Guard/Reserve service members deployed during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25(3), 346-351. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.10.008

Abstract Created by REACH:

Male National Guard/Reserve Service members and their female spouses participated in a study examining partner perceived burden (spousal perceptions of negative life change due to their Service member's mental health concerns) in relation to Service members' mental health problems. Spouses' burden was positively associated with Service members' symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety, regardless of the clinical severity.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:

Guard/Reserve member
Spouse of service member or veteran


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


Empirical Study
Quantitative Study


Caska, Catherine M., Renshaw, Keith D.


Spouses of combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience elevated psychological distress. Recent research indicates that spouses’ perceptions of burden may be one mechanism of such distress, but there are several gaps in this literature. No research has examined perceived burden in relation to symptoms other than PTSD or subclinical levels of psychological distress, and very little research has focused on characteristics of spouses that may be related to their perceptions of burden. The current study examined these variables in 130 spouses of reserve component troops deployed during Operations Enduring/Iraqi Freedom. Spouses’ burden was positively associated with symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety in service members, regardless of clinical severity. Moreover, burden fully mediated the relation between each type of symptom and spouses’ own psychological distress. Furthermore, levels of burden were significantly related to spouses’ neuroticism, avoidant coping, and self-efficacy, but only avoidant coping remained a significant predictor of burden when accounting for service members’ distress. These results suggest that a broad range of service members’ symptoms are related to spouses’ burden and distress, and although individual characteristics of spouses may be related to their perceptions of burden, service members’ symptoms play a primary role.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Elsevier Science

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychology, University of Utah, CMC
Department of Psychology, University of Utah, KDR


military personnel, marital relationship, posttraumatic, stress disorders, burden, anxiety disorders, adolescent, national guard, iraq war, 2003-2011, middle-aged, veterans, spouses

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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