Publications
Research Publication 2
Title Publication Date/Location
The impact of military and nonmilitary experiences on marriage: Examining the military spouses' perspective Journal of Traumatic Stress 2018 Oct;31(5):719-729

Pflieger JC, LeardMann CA, McMaster HS, Donoho CJ, Riviere LA

This study examined the impact of military experiences and nonmilitary family stressors on the military spouse’s perception of marital quality. After adjusting for demographic, relationship, and military characteristics, results indicated that most military experiences did not have a direct association with low marital quality, with the exception of service member posttraumatic stress. Rather, nonmilitary experiences of the military spouse, including lack of social support, caregiver burden, work-family conflict, and financial strain, increased odds of low marital quality. These findings suggest that providing additional supports to address nonmilitary family stressors experienced by spouses may strengthen military marriages.

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Influence of work and life stressors on marital quality among dual and non-dual military couples Journal of Family Issues In press

Woodall KA, Richardson SM, Pflieger JC, Hawkins SA, Stander VA

Maintaining a healthy marriage may be challenging for military couples as they attempt to balance the demands of work and family; for dual-military couples, this can be even more challenging. Using data from the Millennium Cohort Family Study, we examined whether military stress experiences negatively impact marital quality through the mediation of work-family conflict. Spouse gender and dual-military status were included as moderators. Results demonstrated that more military stress experiences was related to lower marital quality, which was mediated by work-family conflict. Additionally, female dual spouses reported lower marital quality than male dual spouses and civilian spouses. Findings from this study highlight the importance of providing support to military spouses for stressful military events and potentially tailoring support services for female dual spouses to improve marital quality.
Mental health of children of deployed and non-deployed US military service members: The Millennium Cohort Family Study Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 2018 Dec;39(9):683-692

Fairbank JA, Briggs EC, Lee RC, Corry NH, Pflieger JC, Gerrity ET, Amaya-Jackson LM, Stander VA, Murphy RA

Prior research has found that youth in military families were significantly more likely to report higher rates of major depression and use of illicit drugs in comparison to their non-military counterparts. The present study investigated the associations between service member deployment experiences and family demographic factors and children’s mental health and psychological functioning, utilizing data collected from 9,872 Service members/military spouses through both online and mail survey options. The results from the Family Study indicated that while most spouses did not report that their children had mental health, emotional, or behavioral difficulties regardless of parental deployment status, a significant minority of children whose parents had been combat deployed were more likely to have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and depression by a doctor or health professional in comparison to youth without a deployed parent. Children with a non-combat deployed service member parent were also more likely to have been assigned a diagnosis of depression in comparison to youth without a deployed parent.

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Patterns of strengths in U.S. military couples Journal of Child and Family Studies Epub ahead of print

Pflieger JC, Porter B, Carballo CE, Stander VA, Corry NH

This study examined patterns of strengths among military couples in the Millennium Cohort Family Study (n = 9,642), including beliefs (self-mastery, positive outlook, spirituality), social support, and family communication. Results supported five patterns of strengths, with 58.4% of couples exhibiting a pattern of high strengths; 33.6% of couples exhibiting two patterns in which one member of the couple was higher on strengths than the other member; 5.1% of couples exhibiting a pattern of low strengths; and 2.9% of couples exhibiting a pattern of moderately high beliefs and social support, yet very low family communication. Higher spouse education level and service member officer rank consistently distinguished patterns of high strengths, whereas couples with lower mental health, marital quality, and military satisfaction were more likely to exhibit patterns of low strengths. These results provide a snapshot of couples early in the military career cycle and highlight the need to adopt a family-centered perspective in military resilience programs and policies.

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Military life stressors, family communication and satisfaction: Associations with children’s psychosocial outcomes Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma Epub ahead of print

Briggs EC, Fairbank JA, Tunno AM, Lee RC, Corry NH, Pflieger JC, Stander VA, Murphy RA

The purpose of this study was to examine facets of military life and family factors that may impact child psychosocial and mental health functioning. Using baseline data from the Millennium Cohort Family Study, this study examined family demographics and composition (age, number of children), military life stressors (injury, family, and deployment stressors), family communication and satisfaction, parental social functioning, and child mental health and behavioral functioning. Injury- and family-related military stressors were significant indicators of heightened risk for child mental health conditions, whereas greater levels of parental social functioning and family satisfaction were associated with lower risk of child mental health conditions. Differential associations were found in child functioning when military-related variables (e.g., service component), sociodemographic, and family composition factors (number and age of the children in the home) were examined. These findings underscore the importance of examining the “whole child” within the broader ecological and military family context to understand factors associated with children’s mental and behavioral health. The results have considerable implications for the development of policies to support children and families encountering multiple stressors related to a parent’s military service.

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The Millennium Cohort Family Study: A prospective evaluation of the health and well-being of military service members and their families International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 2014 Sep;23(3):320-30

Crum-Cianflone NF, Fairbank JA, Marmar CR, Schlenger W

The Millennium Cohort Family Study is the largest prospective, epidemiologic study of military families in US history, and includes dyads of service members and their spouses. This paper provides a comprehensive description of this landmark study including details of the research objectives, study methodology, survey instrument, ancillary data sets, and plans for dissemination of research findings. The Family Study offers a unique opportunity to define the challenges that military families experience and advance the understanding of protective factors that will benefit military families today and into the future.

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Reducing the length of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support European Journal of Psychological Assessment Epub ahead of print

Porter B, Kolaja CA, Powell TM, Pflieger JC, Stander VA, Armenta RA

This study establishes the utility and validity of a shortened version of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Using data from the first follow-up survey of the Millennium Cohort Family Study and a sample of university undergraduate students, results demonstrated that a scale half the length of the original measure (six items) assessed perceived social support about equally well as the full length MSPSS. Therefore, future Millennium Cohort and Millennium Cohort Family Study questionnaires will contain the reduced measure, saving participants time without sacrificing data quality.

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Prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in the United States military spouses: The Millennium Cohort Family Study Depression and Anxiety 2018 Sep;35(9):815-829

Steenkamp MM, Corry NH, Qian M, Li M, McMaster HS, Fairbank JA, Stander VA, Hollahan L, Marmar CR

This cross-sectional study assesses the prevalence of eight mental health conditions in spouses of U.S. Service members with 2 to 5 years of service and the association between deployment status and spousal outcomes, as well as concordance in psychopathology between spouses and Service members. Over one-third of spouses met criteria for at least one of the assessed psychiatric conditions. Having a partner who deployed with combat resulted in higher prevalence of anxiety, insomnia and somatization. Rates of depression, anxiety and somatization were similar between spouses and Service members.

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Depression among military spouses: Demographic, military, and service member psychological health risk factors Depression and Anxiety 2018 Dec;35(12):1137-1144

Donoho CJ, LeardMann CA, O’Malley CA, Walter KH, Riviere LA, Curry JF, Adler AB

In this study, 4.9% of military spouses had a probable diagnosis of major depression disorder (MDD). Spouses married to enlisted service members or those with PTSD had increased risk for MDD, after adjustment for demographic and military factors. Less education, unemployment, and prior military service among spouses, as well as having more than three children, were also associated with increased risk for MDD. These findings imply that deployment alone may not negatively impact military spouses, but rather adverse mental health of the service member, especially PTSD, may increase the risk for MDD among military spouses.

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Association of military life experiences and health indicators among military spouses BMC Public Health 2019 Nov; 19(1):1517

Corry NH, Radakrishnan S, Williams CS, Sparks AC, Woodall KA, Fairbank JA, Stander VA

The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which military spouses' health behaviors met national physical health goals (Healthy People 2020), and to assess associations between health behaviors and sociodemographic characteristics, military experiences, and psychosocial factors. Attainment of national health goals was measured using six indicators of health: 1) healthy weight (body mass index), 2) aerobic exercise, 3) strength training, 4) sleep, 5) alcohol use (risky drinking), and 6) tobacco use. Overall, the majority of military spouses and service members met most of the HP2020 goals analyzed in the study, and the behaviors of each member of the couple were moderately correlated. Greater social support and perceived support from the military, in addition to several demographic variables, were associated with a greater likelihood of meeting the Healthy People 2020 goals among military spouses.

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