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Anxiety, social support, and physical health in a sample of spouses of OEF/OIF service members

APA Citation:

Fields, J. A., Nichols, L. O., Martindale-Adams, J., Zuber, J., & Graney, M. (2012). Anxiety, social support, and physical health in a sample of spouses of OEF/OIF service members. Military Medicine, 177(12), 1492-1497. doi:10.7205/milmedd-12-00036

Abstract Created by REACH:

Eighty-six spouses of military Service members who had been deployed participated in this study that explored the connections between mental health, social support, and physical health. Findings revealed that anxiety symptoms were related to lower social support and poorer physical health.


Mental health
Physical health

Branch of Service:

Air Force
Marine Corps
Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

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


Fields, Jordan A., Nichols, Linda O., Martindale-Adams, Jennifer, Zuber, Jeffrey, Graney, Marshall


The goal of this study was to examine the relationships between heightened anxiety, social support, and physical health in a sample of spouses of returning Iraq and Afghanistan service members. 86 spouses were recruited nationally as part of a pilot trial of a military spouse telephone support group. Participants completed measures of physical and mental health via telephone including a screening tool for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Scores for social support and health outcomes were compared across two groups (positive vs. negative screens for GAD) using one-way analysis of variance analysis procedures. Path analytic techniques were used to evaluate the relative effects of anxiety and perceived social support on overall health and physical health comorbidities. A total of 38 participants screened positive for GAD. Participants with probable GAD reported having less social support than those screening negative for GAD. GAD participants also reported poorer overall health and more physical health comorbidities than their GAD-negative counterparts. Path analysis indicated that heightened anxiety is associated with worse overall health and social support does not buffer this interaction. The results suggest that anxiety-related health is a critical factor to be addressed in spouses of service members.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Association of Military Surgeons

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

University of Memphis, JAF
Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, LON
Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, JMA
Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, JZ
Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, MG


anxiety, social support, physical health, spouses, military service members, comorbidity, operation enduring freedom, operation iraqi freedom

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development, US
Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, US
Defense Health Program

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