Length of Deployment and PTSD Symptoms Have a Strong Correlation with Military Divorce Rates

Length of Deployment and PTSD Symptoms Have a Strong Correlation with Military Divorce Rates

Military marriages must contend with a variety of issues that civilian marriages are spared. Military marriages must survive through many challenging obstacles, such as long deployment, basic training, transfers, war and conflict, injuries, and social acclimation upon return, on top of the everyday issues that marriages confront. Many studies have been published recently to review the effect that life in the military has had on the stability of marriage and the ability of those to remain married in the face of such strife.

The Effect of Lengthy Deployments on Marriage

In one recent study published by the RAND Corporation, lengthy deployment was found to be one of the culprits leading to marriage. The RAND Corporation’s study reviewed the lives of over 2,724 families over a period of three years, checking in and interviewing the families every four months. What made the study interesting was the fact that this is one of the first studies to evaluate military families throughout the deployment process (not solely post-deployment) whereby the family’s military preparedness could be assessed in real-time.

Though it is not unusual for married military couples to have to be apart during deployment periods, it was found that the most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have had a differing impact on marriage than in previous wars.

One surprising difference among married couples depended largely on when they were married. It was found that a military couple who married prior to September 11, 2001, had a higher divorce rate than military couples who married after the September 11th attacks. Those who married before September 11th were found to be 28 percent more likely to divorce within the first three years of their marriage if one of the spouses was deployed for at least one year. Researchers found that couples who married after September 11th were more likely to stay together because they were more prepared and more aware of the realities that their military spouse was about to face. However, the length of the deployment, no matter when the couple was married, played a larger role in the stability of their marriage.

The Effect of PTSD on Military Marriage Rates

Another study published by the RAND Corporation also reviewed the effect that returning soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had on their marriage. The study built on the theory that length of deployment, coupled with PTSD, led to an increased rise in the divorce rate of military families. The study found that military members who are suffering from PTSD symptoms (whether diagnosed or not) increased the divorce rate among soldiers from 10 percent to 20 percent; officers suffering from PTSD increased their divorce rate from 50 percent to 75 percent. The study believes that PTSD and the associated symptoms are generally unanticipated by the married couple who are less equipped to deal with these shocks.

The study, however, states that the relationship between divorce and PTSD symptoms is not affected by gender, length of deployment or the number of deployments. The study finds that most of the damage done to the marriage occurs by the end of the first deployment and that later deployments have less of an impact on the marriage.

Contact a Charleston Family Law Attorney Today

Military marriages must survive through a whole gambit of big and small issues. Lengthy deployments and PTSD are just two of the many issues that military spouses may confront. If you or someone that you know is considering divorce from his or her military spouse in the Mount Pleasant area, let the attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC help. Call or contact the office today for a confidential consultation of your case.

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