Phase 1: This five-year longitudinal study examined individual and broader social environmental influences (e.g., relationship, community and societal) on the health behaviors of soldiers and their partners. Phase 2: The second five year phase will examine experiences with non-deployment, soldier identity, and examine feelings related to separation from the military.
Using a multi-wave design, reserve soldiers and their partners (N = 400 couples) will be assessed three times over two years (i.e., baseline, Year 1, Year 2). We will examine changes in health behaviors over time on the basis of intimate partner, peer and environmental influences.
This study is significant because it will add to our limited knowledge about the social (e.g., partner/peer influences) and environmental (e.g., stress/trauma) risk factors for detrimental health behaviors that are faced by reserve soldiers. The knowledge gained from this conceptually and methodologically rigorous study will enhance the development of effective secondary prevention and intervention strategies to address the complex issues faced by military couples. Understanding the complex relationship between social environmental influences and family functioning can be helpful for reducing negative outcomes and improving the health of reserve soldiers and their partners.