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Front. Psychiatry
Sec. Public Mental Health
Volume 15 - 2024 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2024.1419022
This article is part of the Research Topic The cost of war: Sociological approaches to the societal and individual wounds of combat View all 3 articles

Impact of life-threatening military incidents during deployments abroad on the relationships between military personnel and their families

Provisionally accepted
  • 1 Department for Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Military Hospital Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • 2 King's College London, London, England, United Kingdom
  • 3 Munich University of the Federal Armed Forces, Neubiberg, Germany
  • 4 Military Hospital Berlin, Berlin, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

    The influence of deployments on family relationships has hardly been investigated. Following a recently proposed new research strategy, military personnel with and without deployment-related life-threatening military incidents during deployment were compared. The hypothesis was that partner and family relationships of military personnel who experienced such an event would deteriorate more.Methods: This study included N = 255 military personnel who had a romantic partner (n = 78 of them had children) when deployed to Afghanistan. Of these, n = 68 military personnel experienced a deployment-related critical event during the deployment, n = 187 did not. Partnership quality was assessed using a semi-structured pre-and post-deployment interview.The partner relationships of military personnel who experienced a deploymentrelated life-threatening military incident during deployment broke up significantly more often. The partner relationships of all military personnel deteriorated significantly, with greater deterioration after deployment in the group who faced such incidents. These results were independent of age, rank or number of previous deployments. In addition, there was a significant deterioration in the relationships between all military personnel and their children with greater deterioration after deployment in the group who faced such incidents.Life-threatening military incidents during a deployment abroad appear to have a considerable influence on the quality and stability of the partner and family relationships of military personnel. These findings can be used to inform the development of specific preand post-deployment measures and training.

    Keywords: Family, military deployment, Military Personnel, intimate relationship, Marital Status, Child, Critical incident, Afghanistan

    Received: 17 Apr 2024; Accepted: 18 Jun 2024.

    Copyright: © 2024 Wesemann, Rowlands, Renner, Konhäuser, Köhler and Himmerich. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

    * Correspondence: Ulrich Wesemann, Department for Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Military Hospital Berlin, Berlin, Germany

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