Publications
Research Publication 2
Title Publication Date/Location
The Role of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Negative Affect in Predicting Substantiated Intimate Partner Violence Incidents Among Military Personnel Military Behavioral Health ePub ahead of print; 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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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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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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The impact of family stressors and resources on military spouse's perception of post-deployment reunion stress Military Psychology 2020 Nov; 32(6):369-379

Mallonee SD, Riggs D, Stander VA

This study explored the relationship between a variety of variables and the spouse's perception of reunion stress both independently and within their shared context. Results largely confirmed prior research on the independent relationship between each variable and reunion stress. However, the results found that many of these variables did not remain significant in the full model. Indeed, only poorer mental health among spouses and service members and greater perceived stressfulness of communication was associated with increased reunion stress as reported by spouses across all models tested.

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Smoking and drinking behaviors of military spouses: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Family Study Addictive Behaviors 2017 Sep;77:121-130

Trone DW, Powell TM, Bauer LM, Seelig AD, Peterson AV, Littman AJ, Williams EC, Maynard CC, Bricker JB, Boyko EJ

This cross-sectional study assesses the associations between stressful military experiences and tobacco use and alcohol misuse among Service member spouses. Our findings suggest that contextual characteristics about the deployment experience, as well as the perceived stress of those experiences, may be more impactful than the simple fact of Service member deployment itself. These results suggest that considering the impact of deployment experiences on military spouses reveals important dimensions of military community adaptation and risk.

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Reducing the length of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support European Journal of Psychological Assessment 2020 Sep;36(5):829-838

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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Posttraumatic stress disorder symptom clusters in service members predict new-onset depression among military spouses Journal of Traumatic Stress Epub ahead of print

Walter KH, LeardMann CA, Carballo CE, McMaster HM, Donoho CJ, Stander VA

Among spouses of service members with probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 14% met criteria for new-onset depression over a 3-year period. The service member’s PTSD symptom cluster of effortful avoidance was associated with an increased risk of new-onset depression in spouses, underscoring the impact of service member psychological symptoms on the spouse.

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Perceived barriers to mental healthcare among spouses of military service members Psychological Services In press

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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Patterns of strengths in U.S. military couples Journal of Child and Family Studies 2019 Sep;29:1249–1263

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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