Exploring the Social Determinants of Mental Health by Race and Ethnicity in Army Wives

Jessica Dodge, Kathrine Sullivan, Edward Miech, Adriane Clomax, Lyndon Riviere, Carl Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore the social determinants of mental health (SDoMH) by race/ethnicity in a sample with equal access to healthcare. Using an adaptation of the World Health Organization’s SDoMH Framework, this secondary analysis examines the socio-economic factors that make up the SDoMH by race/ethnicity. Method: This paper employed configurational comparative methods (CCMs) to analyze various racial/ethnic subsets from quantitative survey data from (N = 327) active-duty Army wives. Data was collected in 2012 by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Results: Initial exploratory analysis revealed the highest-scoring factors for each racial/ethnic subgroup: non-Hispanic Black: employment and a history of adverse childhood events (ACEs); Hispanic: living off post and a recent childbirth; junior enlisted non-Hispanic White: high work-family conflict and ACEs; non-Hispanic other race: high work-family conflict and not having a military history. Final analysis showed four models consistently explained clinically significant depression symptoms and four models consistently explained the absence of clinical depression symptoms, providing a solution for each racial/ethnic minority group (non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, junior enlisted non-Hispanic White, and non-Hispanic other). Discussion: These findings highlight that Army wives are not a monolithic group, despite their collective exposure to military-specific stressors. These findings also highlight the potential for applying configurational approaches to gain new insights into mental health outcomes for social science and clinical researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-684
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • Army
  • Coincidence analysis
  • Mental health
  • Military spouses
  • Qualitative comparative analysis
  • Social Determinants of Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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