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Mil Med. 2008 Nov;173(11):1051-6.

Prevalence of mental health problems, treatment need, and barriers to care among primary care-seeking spouses of military service members involved in Iraq and Afghanistan deployments.

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  • 1Division of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910, USA.


Military spouses must contend with unique issues such as a mobile lifestyle, rules and regulations of military life, and frequent family separations including peacekeeping and combat deployments. These issues may have an adverse effect on the health of military spouses. This study examined the mental health status, rates of care utilization, source of care, as well as barriers and stigma of mental health care utilization among military spouses who were seeking care in military primary care clinics. The data show spouses have similar rates of mental health problems compared to soldiers. Spouses were more likely to seek care for their mental health problems and were less concerned with the stigma of mental health care than were soldiers. Services were most often received from primary care physicians, rather than specialty mental health professionals, which may relate to the lack of availability of mental health services for spouses on military installations.

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