Substance use and mental health among military spouses and partners

Mil Behav Health. 2019;7(3):257-267. doi: 10.1080/21635781.2019.1591314. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Abstract

Research on the behavioral health of military spouses/partners is essential, yet lacking. Data on 344 civilian spouses were drawn from a study of U.S. Army Reserve/National Guard soldier couples. This project characterizes civilian spouses' behavioral health symptoms. Regression analyses assessed the relationship between substance use and mental health symptoms. Overall, findings indicate civilian spouses had behavioral health impairments. Mental health, alcohol use, and tobacco use did not differ by soldiers' deployment history; illicit drug use and non-medical use of prescription drugs did at trend level. Support initiatives focusing on all military spouses, not just those of deployed soldiers, are needed.

Keywords: National Guard; Reserve; alcohol use; anger; anxiety; cigarette use; deployment; depression; military spouses; non-medical use of prescription drugs.