Post-Deployment Indicators of Single Soldiers’ Well-Being
The civilian literature indicates that married individuals generally have better health than others; but little is known as to whether this also applies to soldiers. Using a sample of 4,346 soldiers surveyed 3–4 months after Iraq deployments, we examined three perspectives that explain the advantage of the married (social causation and social selection hypotheses, and crisis theory). We divided single soldiers into two groups – never married and previously married – and compared their well-being to married soldiers using logistic regression (adjusting for age, gender, rank, parental status, education, and combat exposure).
Findings show that previously married soldiers are more likely than married soldiers to report poor well-being. Never married soldiers are generally comparable to married soldiers, but report more risky behaviors. Tentative evidence was found to support both the social causation and social selection hypotheses; however, longitudinal data is needed to fully assess crisis theory and for more definitive conclusions across perspectives.
KeywordsAlcohol Misuse Marital Quality Married Individual Combat Exposure Operation Iraqi Freedom
The authors would like to acknowledge Jennifer Auchterlonie for her kind provision of PDHRA data and Richard Herrell for his assistance with the data analysis plan.
The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors, and are not be construed as official, or as reflecting true views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.
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