Impact of Canadian Armed Forces veterans’ mental health problems on the family during the military to civilian transition
Cramm, H., Norris, D., Schwartz, K., Tam-Seto, L., Williams, A., & Mahar, A. (2020). Impact of Canadian Armed Forces veterans’ mental health problems on the family during the military to civilian transition. Military Behavioral Health, 8(2), 148-158. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2019.1644260
Abstract Created by REACH:
This article utilized a sample of family members of Canadian Armed Forces service members with mental health problems who were making the military-to-civilian transition. The aim of this qualitative study was to improve understanding of how veteran mental health problems (i.e., mainly PTSD with other comorbid symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder) affect the family during the military-to-civilian transition. Thirty-five family members (i.e., a spouse, parent, sibling, or child) of Canadian Armed Forces veterans participated in either an individual interview (n = 26) or a focus group (n = 9). Overall, results suggest that family members experienced many challenges related to caring for their veteran who had mental health problems during the transition to family life.
Branch of Service:
Child of a service member or veteran
Parent of a service member or veteran
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Aged (65 yrs & older)
Cramm, Heidi, Norris, Deborah, Schwartz, Kelly Dean, Tam-Seto, Linna, Williams, Ashley, Mahar, Alyson
Military to civilian transition can significantly affect veterans’ lives. This study aimed to increase understanding of how veteran mental health problems impact the family during the transition to civilian life. We used a sequential multiple qualitative design. Twenty-six family members of veterans with mental health problems completed individual interviews and 9 participated in 3 focus groups. Veteran’s mental health problem(s) created multifaceted and pervasive changes in family structure, roles, and routines, and these changes created negative mental health and well-being impacts for family members. Transition may compound stressors related to mental health, with significant consequences for family systems.
Taylor & Francis
School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University,HC
Mount Saint Vincent University, DB
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, KDS
Faculty of Health Sciences, Health Services and Policy Research Institute, Queen’s University, LTS
School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, AW
Department of Community Health Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Manitoba, AM
military to civilization transition, Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, veteran families, mental health, military families, Posttraumatic stress disorder
REACH Publication Type:
This study was part of a larger research project funded through VAC, which explored the ways in which the mental health of the veteran impacts the family and vice versa through the military to civilian transition period, as well as programs and supports accessed during that time.