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The impact of multiple deployments and social support on stress levels of women married to active duty servicemen

APA Citation:

Van Winkle, E. P., & Lipari, R. N. (2015). The impact of multiple deployments and social support on stress levels of women married to active duty servicemen. Armed Forces & Society, 41(3), 395-412. doi:10.1177/0095327X13500651

Abstract Created by REACH:

Survey data were utilized to examine the relationship between the number of times a Service members was deployed and their wives’ self-reported stress levels. Stress levels were highest for women whose husbands had been deployed twice and for those whose husbands had been deployed eight or more times. Spouses with children reported lower levels of stress than those without children.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Air Force
Multiple branches
Marine Corps

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)


Quantitative Study
Empirical Study
Cross-Sectional Study


Van Winkle, Elizabeth P., Lipari, Rachel N.


Using a large-scale survey, we examined the relationship between number of deployments experienced by female spouses of active duty military members and these spouses’ perceived stress. Results suggest a nonlinear relationship such that spouses who had not experienced a deployment reported the lowest stress levels. Stress levels increase after initial deployments and decrease after approximately two deployments, which may indicate an element of resiliency that builds up as spouses acclimate to a deployment lifestyle. Stress levels again increase after several deployments, which may signify limitations to this resiliency over time. A secondary finding showed that higher levels of social support predicted lower levels of stress, above and beyond the number of deployments. This relationship between social support and stress helped explain the negative relationship between parental status and stress. That is, spouses with children may have lower stress levels due to the social network that accompanies parental status.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

SAGE Publications

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Defense Manpower Data Center, EPVW
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, RNL


military spouses, multiple deployments, stress, social support, parental status

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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