Risk and Protective Factors for Work-Family Conflict among Female Military Spouses

Yangjin Park, Molly Shea, Kathrine Sullivan, Julie C. Merrill, Kristina Clarke-Walper, Lyndon A. Riviere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Work-family conflict (WFC) is a chronic issue among military families. Compared to their civilian counterparts, military families experience additional work demands such as frequent training exercises and deployment, military-specific trauma, and injury in garrison, training or deployed settings. Guided by a risk and protective factors framework, this study examined the direct effects of cumulative military-specific work risks (i.e., number of combat deployments, mental health, injury during combat deployments) and cumulative family risks (i.e., children in the home, spouse adverse childhood experiences, spouse employment) on WFC and the potential buffering effect of social support among female military spouses. This study is a secondary data analysis (n = 334) using Land Combat Study 2 data collected by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in 2012. After controlling for covariates (including soldier rank, ethnicity, and age), cumulative military-specific risk factors were positively associated with WFC while family risks were not. Social support was negatively associated with WFC but did not exhibit interaction effects with either group of risks. Findings suggest military spouses perceive WFC due to service members’ military-specific work factors, and social support was a promotive factor which may alleviate experiences of WFC. Military leadership and behavior health providers should consider strategies to alleviate work-specific risks and promote social support for military spouses to reduce WFC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1078-1087
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Family risk
  • Female spouse
  • Military population
  • Military-specific work risk
  • Work-family conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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