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Millennium Cohort Program

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The Millennium Cohort Program is a long-term research study sponsored by the Defense Department, Defense Health Agency. Both the Millennium Cohort Study of service members and the Millennium Cohort Family Study of military spouses investigate the impact of service life on military service members and their families. They provide a critical view of how military life impacts relationship quality and the physical and psychological health of service members and their families both during and after service affiliation.

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Millennium Cohort Family Study Infographics

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Understanding factors that contribute to retention is critical for the military. This research identified factors that contribute to service members’ career satisfaction/dissatisfaction and their intentions to stay or separate from the military.

Family Life and Career Experience (PDF)

Families Serve Too: Military Spouse Well-Being After Separation From Active-Duty Service

Separating from the military can affect the service member’s spouse in both positive and negative ways. Spouses whose families transitioned from active-duty service experienced increased post-traumatic stress symptoms and a decline in the quality of their marital relationships. However, they also experienced less work-family conflict.

Families Serve Too (PDF)

Longitudinal Patterns of Military Spouse Alcohol Consumption

Most spouses in this study had healthy drinking habits. Factors associated with risky drinking included being younger, male, prior alcohol use, cigarette use, having a partner exposed to combat while deployed and symptoms of post-traumatic stress, particularly combined with depression.

Longitudinal Patterns of Military Spouse Alcohol Consumption (PDF)

image of Depression Among Service Member Spouses file

Nearly 5% of military spouses in this study were found to have a probable diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Factors increasing the likelihood of depression include less educational attainment, large family size, unemployment, prior military service and having a spouse with PTSD.

Depression Among Service Member Spouses (PDF)

image of How Well are Military Spouses Taking Care of Their Health file

The majority of military spouses in this study met Healthy People 2020 national health goals with the exception of strength training and maintaining a healthy weight. The study found that family support from the military was associated with healthier behaviors while having no one to turn to for support was associated with poorer behaviors.

How Well Are Military Spouses Taking Care of Their Health? (PDF)

How Well are Military Spouses’ Marital Relationships Faring? report image

Results of a study on military life and the well-being of military marriages indicated that most couples in the military community do not experience negative consequences from military life. However, there may be impacts for couples who experience significant work-family conflict, and in cases where a service member experiences post-traumatic stress. Also couples without good family or friendship networks and significant financial strain also experience more difficulty.

How Well Are Military Spouses’ Marital Relationships Faring? (PDF)

Image of Work and Life Stressors Among Non-Dual and Dual-Military Families infographic

Stressful military events negatively affect marriage quality, with women in dual-military marriages reporting lower marital quality due to military stress, according to this study. The findings highlight the importance of supporting military spouses through stressful events and potentially tailoring support for female dual spouses.

Work and Life Stressors Among Non-Dual and Dual-Military Families (PDF)

image of How Well Are Military Children Faring file

Most military children are functioning well. However, in a minority of children, a parent’s deployment has been linked to attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety. The study found that strong family relationships can protect children from the stresses of military life.

How Well Are Military Children Faring? (PDF)

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The majority of military couples have a strong belief system, social support and good family communication. The study found that lower strengths in these areas were linked to lower mental health, marital quality and military satisfaction. These findings highlight the need to adopt a family-centered perspective in military resilience programs and policies.

Patterns of Strengths in Military Couples (PDF)

Demographic Stress Factors for Military Spouses

The study examined military life stress and perceived support among different groups of spouses. Results indicated that spouses over age 35 with a high school diploma or less and two or more children, among other factors, were more likely to report military life stress and less perceived support. Spouses who were part of a dual military couple reported less military life stress and higher perceived support than spouses who had not served.

What Factors Make Military Life Stressful for Your Family (PDF)

Perceived Barriers to Mental Health Care Among Military Spouses

Military spouses face unique stressors but may be reluctant to seek mental health care. The study found that the most frequent barrier to care is logistical, followed by negative attitudes towards mental health care. Spouses with prior or current military service report more negative beliefs about mental health care and greater fear of negative consequences.

Have You Struggled With the Decision to Seek Help for a Problem? (PDF)

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