Publications
Research Publication 2
Title Publication Date/Location
Perceived barriers to mental healthcare among spouses of military service members Psychological Services 2022; 19(2):396-405

Schvey NA, Burke DJ, Pearlman AT, Britt TW, Riggs DS, Carballo CE, Stander VA

The elucidation of barriers to mental healthcare among military spouses is critical to optimizing the health of the military family and ensuring military readiness. Utilizing data from the Millennium Cohort Family Study, the current study found that logistic factors, such as lack of time or cost of services (reported by 63%), and negative attitudes towards mental healthcare (reported by 52%) were the most frequently reported barriers to care. Other reported barriers included fear of negative consequences (reported by 35%) and internalized mental health stigma (reported by 32%). Spouses with prior or current military service themselves and individuals with probable psychiatric conditions were most likely to report barriers to mental healthcare. Prospective data are needed to elucidate the associations between perceived barriers to care and actual mental healthcare utilization.

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Influence of family factors on service members' decisions to leave the military. Family Relations 2022 August; 1-20

Woodall, K., Esquivel, A., Powell, T., Riviere, L., Amoroso, P., & Stander, V. A.

Service member retention is a crucial aspect in maintaining and advancing the U.S. military and its mission. To increase retention, it is important to understand why active duty personnel voluntarily leave while they are still highly qualified. For married service members, spouses likely influence the decision to stay or leave military service. The current study used data from the Millennium Cohort Family Study for 4,539 dyads comprising service members and their spouses to investigate family predictors of voluntary military separation.

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Longitudinal patterns of military spousal alcohol consumption: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Family Study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 2022 July; 83(4), 546-555

Sparks, A. C., Williams, C. S., Pflieger, J. C., Jacobson, I., Corry, N. H., Radakrishnan, S., & Stander, V. A.

Alcohol use in the military is prevalent and has short- and long-term health, safety, and career consequences. Although several studies have examined service members’ alcohol consumption, few have focused on alcohol use among military spouses. This study assessed factors at individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels to determine associations with risky alcohol use among military spouses.

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Gender differences in marital and military predictors of service member career satisfaction. Family Relations 2022 May; 1-23

Street, T., Lewin, A., Woodall, K., Cruz-Cano, R., Thoma, M., & Stander, V. A.

U.S. servicewomen may face unique military experiences unlike those of servicemen, and stressors can affect their satisfaction with the military. Understanding factors influencing satisfaction among the increasing number of U.S. servicewomen in the U.S. military is important for retention. This study increases our understanding of the influence military and family stressors have on service members' satisfaction with the military. It also reveals gender differences in military satisfaction and recommends strategies to address the needs of diverse military families.

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Pre- and perinatal risk factors for child maltreatment in military families across the first two years of life. Child Maltreatment 2022 April; 1-12

Sullivan, K., Richardson, S., Ross, A., Cederbaum, J., Pflieger, J., Abramovitz, L., Bukowinski, A., & Stander, V.

Military families are exposed to a unique constellation of risk factors, which may impact maltreatment outcomes. The present study examined prospective relationships between demographic, health, birth-related, and military-specific risk factors identified prior to a child’s birth on their risk for maltreatment in the first two years of life.

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Families serve too: military spouse well-being after separation from active-duty service Anxiety, Stress & Coping ePub; 2022 March

Corry NH, Joneydi R, McMaster HS, Williams CS, Glynn S, Spera C, Stander VA

A life course model was applied to assess spouse well-being following the transition from military to civilian life. Spouses of service members who had separated from the military (versus those who had not) reported poorer mental health and family relationship quality. Spouses of active-duty service members reported greater increases in work-family conflict. Protective factors included having more psychological and social resources and less financial stress.

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Risk and Protective Factors Predictive of Marital Instability in U.S. Military Couples Journal of Family Psychology ePub; 2021 Dec

Pflieger JC, Richardson SM, Stander VA, Allen ES

The objective of this study was to predict marital instability from a range of risk and protective factors in a large, representative cohort of military couples participating in the Millennium Cohort Family Study. Factors analyzed include mental health, family communication, military experiences, and education level. Findings from this study can be used to target specific couples risk factors for marital instability and to tailor programs to at-risk subgroups.

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The Role of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Negative Affect in Predicting Substantiated Intimate Partner Violence Incidents Among Military Personnel Military Behavioral Health 9(4); 2021 Aug

Stander VA, Woodall KA, Richardson SM, Thomsen CJ, Milner JS, McCarroll JE, Riggs DS, Cozza SJ, for the Millennium Cohort Research Team.

Increasing rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military populations may indicate heightened risk for aggression, including aggression among domestic partners. Using longitudinal data from the Millennium Cohort Study, we evaluated the association of PTSD symptom clusters and comorbid conditions as predictors of incidents of met criteria incidents of domestic abuse (physical and psychological) from DoD Family Advocacy Program (FAP) Central Registry data. Among 54,667 active-duty personnel who responded to the 2011 survey, FAP records documented 501 participants (1%) with incidents of emotional or physical met criteria incidents of aggression in the data collection period. Results showed that certain aspects of PTSD and behavioral health problems predicted incidents. In particular, general PTSD symptoms (e.g., anger/irritability, sleep disruption) and comorbid alcohol dependence were stronger predictors than trauma-specific PTSD symptomology (e.g., reexperiencing, hypervigilance). These results indicate that clinicians should consider the interpersonal consequences of PTSD and related behavioral problems.

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Associations between spouse and service member prescriptions for high-risk and long-term opioids: a dyadic study Addictive Behaviors Reports 2021 June; 14

Sparks AC, Radakrishnan S, Corry NH, McDonald D, Carlson K, Carballo CE, Stander, V.

This study explores the extent to which military spouses’ obtainment of opioids is associated with their service member partners’ obtainment of opioid prescriptions, in addition to other factors such as service member health, state prescribing patterns, and sociodemographic characteristics. Findings suggest that reducing the number of long-term and high-risk opioid prescriptions to service members may subsequently reduce the number of similar prescriptions obtained by their spouses. Reducing the number of service members and spouses at risk for adverse events may prove to be effective in stemming the opioid epidemic and improve the overall health and safety of military spouses and thus, the readiness of the U.S. Armed Forces.

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Comparison of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist Instruments from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition vs Fifth Edition in a Large Cohort of US Military Service Members and Veterans JAMA Network Open 2021 April; 4(4): e218072

LeardMann CA, McMaster HS, Warner S, Esquivel AP, Porter B, Powell TM, Tu XM, Lee WW, Rull RP, Hoge CW

To assist in the longitudinal assessment of PTSD spanning the transition between the DSM-IV and DSM-V, we compared the PTSD Checklist-Civilian version (PCL-C) with the PCL for DSM-5 (PCL-5) in a sample of 1,921 participants from the Millennium Cohort Study. There was substantial to excellent agreement when comparing individual items, frequency of probably PTSD, and sum scores; and nearly identical associations with comorbid conditions. Our results provide support that PTSD can be successfully assessed and compared over time with either PCL instrument in veteran and military populations.

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