The Impact of Army Service on a Family

by Romana Greene

Having a family member in the military can be a source of incredible pride but also of significant emotional strain. With tensions rising in many corners of the world we take a deeper look at how being deployed can impact a military family. 

For those married to someone being deployed, the news can cause a range of emotions from stress, to disbelief to depression. Studies have shown that substance abuse is much higher among spouses with a partner serving in the military compared to the average population. There appears to be a direct correlation with anxiety and depression levels to deployment. It can place a huge strain on a family as someone who was there and shared so much of the workload is now gone. Spouses who remain at home have no time left to look after themselves and find they are more prone to health issues as they spend time taking care of everything else but themselves. 

There have been a number of studies and a meta-analysis on the children of someone serving in the military. It has shown that they are quicker to anger, have a higher level of anxiety and depression and feel more lonely. Even toddlers suffer from separation anxiety and fail to understand why a parent is missing. For older children, they are deeply afraid that a parent will be hurt while serving and can become overcome with this fear. One study has shown that of children who have a parent actively serving in the military, 56% have trouble sleeping and 14% struggle in school. 

There are things proven to help. Community support and therapy are proven to help all family members in these situations. Ensuring communication is as open as possible between all family members is important to ensure no one is suffering alone. If you know anyone serving in the military, make sure to check in with their family as they may need help in this tough time.

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