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Family stressors and postdeployment mental health in single versus partnered parents deployed in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Vaughn-Coaxum R, Smith BN, Iverson KM, Vogt D. Family stressors and postdeployment mental health in single versus partnered parents deployed in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Psychological Services. 2015 Aug 1; 12(3):241-9.

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Abstract:

Little is known about the family-related stress and postdeployment adjustment of single versus partnered parents deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This study examined exposure to family-related stressors during and after deployment, as well as postdeployment psychological symptoms in a national sample of 318 single (n = 74) and partnered (n = 244) parent veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Results demonstrated that single parents experienced higher levels of concern about life and family disruptions during deployment, lower levels of social support during and after deployment, and poorer postdeployment family functioning than partnered parents. Single parents also reported higher posttraumatic stress symptom severity, but not depression or anxiety symptom severity, compared with partnered parents. Family-related stressors demonstrated different associations with mental health for single and partnered parents, suggesting that some stressor-symptom relations may be more salient for single parents, and others may be more salient for partnered parents. Findings suggest that the deployment and postdeployment experiences of parents differ based on their partnered status, which has implications for the design and provision of services to single and partnered parents.





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