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A cross-sectional survey of the relationship between partner deployment and stress in pregnancy during wartime

APA Citation:

Haas, D. M., Pazdernik, L. A., & Olsen, C. H. (2005). A cross-sectional survey of the relationship between partner deployment and stress in pregnancy during wartime. Women's Health Issues, 15(2), 48-54. doi:10.1016/j.whi.2004.12.002

Abstract Created by REACH:

Having a partner deployed during wartime may increase a woman's stress level during pregnancy. By administering surveys to pregnant military spouses and Active Duty Service members, the study examined the relationship between spousal deployment and prenatal stress. Results suggested a relationship between spousal deployment and stress level during pregnancy.


Mental health
Physical health

Branch of Service:

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)


Cross-sectional study
Quantitative Study


Haas, David M., Pazdernik, Lisa A., Olsen, Cara H.


Objective The objective of this study was to determine if having a partner deployed during wartime increased the stress levels in pregnant women and altered their attitudes toward pregnancy. Methods We administered a cross-sectional survey of all military and civilian women attending the antenatal clinic at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune. We collected the anonymous surveys in May 2003. The survey measured demographics, self-reported stress level, and other attitudes toward the pregnancy and deployment; blood pressure was recorded. Data were compared by partner deployment status and reported stress levels using chi-square, t-tests, and logistic regression analysis. Results Two hundred seventy-nine surveys were returned, representing 93.3% of those distributed. An almost equal number of patients had a partner deployed as nondeployed (49.1% versus 50.9%). Women with deployed partners were older, more had children at home, more often reported both significantly higher stress levels and a severe impact of the deployment on their stress, had a lower systolic blood pressure, more often reported changed eating habits, and reported that media coverage of the war worsened their stress than those whose partners were not deployed. Logistic regression analysis of stress found that partner deployment, having more than one child at home, and being active-duty were associated with reporting higher stress levels (odds ratio [OR] = 2.27, p = .013; OR = 3.11, p = .042; and OR = 4.03, p = .01, respectively). Conclusions Pregnant women with deployed partners and those with more than one child already at home report higher stress levels than their peers with partners present. Increased stress in pregnant women with deployed partners may lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Further study is warranted to assess the impact of deployment on pregnancy and family life to better support homeland pregnant partners of deployed military members during wartime.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Elsevier Science

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, DMH
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, LAP
Biostatistics Consulting Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, CHO


partner deployment, stress, pregnancy, wartime

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Grant Number: P03-0040:A

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