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Psychiatric Morbidity Incidence in Military Spouses

Depress Anxiety; ePub 2018 May 10; Steenkamp, et al

One-third of junior military spouses screened positive for ≥1 psychiatric conditions, according to a recent study, underscoring the need for high‐quality prevention and treatment services. Researchers employed baseline data from the Millennium Cohort Family Study, a 21‐year longitudinal survey following 9,872 military‐affiliated married couples. Couples were surveyed between 2011 and 2013, a period of high military operational activity associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Primary outcomes were assessed with validated self‐report questionnaires. They found:

  • A total of 35.90% of military spouses met criteria for at least 1 psychiatric condition.
  • The most commonly endorsed conditions were moderate‐to‐severe somatization symptoms (17.63%) and moderate‐to‐severe insomnia (15.65%).
  • PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic, alcohol misuse, and binge eating were endorsed by 9.20%, 6.65%, 6.05%, 7.07%, 8.16%, and 5.23% of spouses, respectively.
  • Having a partner who deployed with combat resulted in higher prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, and somatization.
  • Spouses had lower prevalence of PTSD, alcohol misuse, and insomnia but higher rates of panic and binge eating than service members.
  • Both members of a couple rarely endorsed having the same psychiatric problem.


Steenkamp MM, Corry NH, Qian M, et al. Prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in United States military spouses: The Millennium Cohort Family Study. [Published online ahead of print May 10, 2018]. Depress Anxiety. doi:10.1002/da.22768.