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Mil Med. 1995 Sep;160(9):457-61.

Soldier functioning under chronic stress: effects of family member illness.

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Department of Military Psychiatry, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20005, USA.


The psychological functioning of soldiers with a handicapped child in the family were compared with that of soldiers without such a child through a survey of 443 soldiers. Self-report questionnaires were utilized to measure depressive symptoms, martial adjustment, social supports, stressful life events, military satisfaction, military performance, and coping. Differences between the 147 soldier-parents with a handicapped child and those without were examined using one-way analyses of variance. The results indicated that soldier-parents with a handicapped child showed significantly higher depressive symptoms, including lower scores on coping, less favorable perception of their military skills and abilities, and more pessimistic attitudes about their long-term military career options, than did the comparison group. Differences in marital satisfaction were not found. Also, perceived social supports played a significantly greater role in buffering the effects of stress on marital adjustment among families with a handicapped child than among those without.

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