Mental health outcomes associated with profiles of risk and resilience among U.S. Army spouses

Kathrine S. Sullivan, Stacy A. Hawkins, Tamika D. Gilreath, Carl Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The current study examined patterns of risk and protective factors among military families and associations with mental health diagnoses among U.S. Army spouses. Spouses (N = 3,036) completed a survey of family psychosocial fitness, which informed protective factors including coping, family cohesion, and social support. Survey results were linked with Department of Defense archival data, which provided information on military-specific risks, including relocation, deployments, and reunification, as well as mental health care diagnoses. The three-step method of latent profile analysis identified six profiles, suggesting significant heterogeneity in military families with respect to their access to resources and exposure to risk. The largest profile of families (40.48% of the sample) had limited risk exposure and considerable strengths. Variability in risk and protection across profiles was associated with statistically significant differences in the prevalence of mental health diagnoses among spouses (χ² = 108.968, df = 5, p < .001). The highest prevalence of mental health diagnoses among Army spouses (41.2%) was observed in the profile with the lowest levels of protective factors. Findings point to the importance of evaluating both concurrent risk and protective factors. Increasing access to resources may be a fruitful avenue for prevention among military families that are struggling.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
StateE-pub ahead of print - May 20 2020

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