Image: – – Male Military Spouse News
Researchers at George Mason University hope an ongoing study into the effects of post-traumatic stress on soldiers' home lives will yield more ways the Army can address the issue — and not just for one type of family unit.
About 15 spots in the study are open for male spouses or partners of female soldiers in the active Army, the National Guard or the Army Reserve who have exhibited symptoms of PTSD. An official diagnosis of the disorder is not required for a family member to participate, lead researcher Keith Renshaw said.
Dual-military couples are not eligible, Renshaw said. Male spouses formerly in uniform may participate, but only if they did not make a combat deployment during their service.
Another 15 or so spots are available to parents of single female soldiers with similar symptoms.
Participants in the study will be asked to complete some basic questionnaires to confirm their eligibility and provide demographic information, then will participate in a 30-to-60-minute phone interview within about two weeks of submitting their information, Renshaw said. Participants receive a $50 gift card upon completion, and all information will remain confidential.
The interview will be used to allow researchers to better understand the challenges posed to families by post-traumatic stress and will help shape future interviews for a larger study.
"When you do research, you only learn about what you ask," Renshaw said. "And if you don't ask the right questions, you may be missing the boat."
The Army-funded study also includes female spouses of male soldiers, but those research slots already have been filled, Renshaw said.
According to fiscal year 2014 demographics, the Army has 64,835 married female soldiers, including 34,189 on active duty. The first figure is about 12.3 percent of the married force, which includes 464,275 married male soldiers.
Thanks to these figures, Renshaw said, many spouse surveys either lump the men in with the women or discard them entirely when making policy recommendations.
This study may help determine if some programs or treatment options "are less relevant to them, or more," he said. "They may have greater problems, for instance, finding a support network. ... They may struggle more than Army wives in some areas."
Spouses interested in participating in the survey can click here for more information or to register.