Why Military Families End Up In Divorce

A study by Benjamin Karney (UCLA) and John Crown (RAND Corp) examines the issue of divorce among couples where one spouse is in the military. Find the results, as well as who from within the military is most likely to divorce.

Military Families and Divorce

It has been
reported that military deployments cause a rift in military couples
which unfortunately lead to divorce. This is because of the long and
life threatening deployments, as well as tension caused by the recent

to the New York Times, military deployments eat up marriages, causing huge
problems to couples and eventually, making them total strangers to each

is why Benjamin Karney (UCLA) and John Crown (RAND Corp) made an
analysis of this development to look more carefully at the whole issue.
They checked recent personnel records of the entire U.S. military to
know how huge the impact of time deployment is on couples.

one-half million service members participated especially those who were
married after 9/11 and served between 2002 and 2005. Gender, race and
presence of children were among the data collected.

The results varied depending on groups of reserved service members but
nonetheless provided some general insights into which service members
are more at risk of divorce.

The study found that couples who marry at a younger age are more
likely to divorce. It also shows that women serving in the military were
more at risk of divorce. The presence of children gave mixed results.
For Active duty military including enlisted members and officers in the
Army, couples with children are less likely to divorce. However, the
Reserves – Navy enlisted Reservists with children were more at risk of

Additionally, among service members in the Army and Navy, divorce
rates are about twice as high for black couples compared to white
couples. In the Reserves, blacks in the Army were more at risk of
divorce but black Navy and Air Force enlisted personnel were at low
risks of getting a divorce.

Separate analyses were also made for every branch of the service, and
in the 20 tests, Karney and Crown found that only two deployments
resulted in a greater risk of divorce. Active duty officers and enlisted
Air Force personnel were likely to get a divorce due to deployment.
However, the results were opposite in the other 13 tests. It shows that
longer deployment means lower risk of divorce. Surprisingly, deployment
seemed to improve the stability of the marriage.

Furthermore, Karney and Crown’s study revealed that deployment for
couples who were married younger, with children and for women, lowered
the risk of divorce.

The results are entirely different compared to usual reports that we
see on television or read on the newspaper. For military couples,
deployment is more of a challenge than a crisis. It may be difficult but
if couples find ways to strengthen their relationship despite the
distance, there’s a huge possibility that their marriage will work.

According to Karney and Crown, the military actually provides different
kinds of service and support to service members. They not only give
child care, health care and housing assistance but also emotional
support to help relieve daily stress brought about by the kind of job
that they have.

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