King's College London

Research portal

Perceived effect of deployment on families of UK military personnel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article numberkqx132
Pages (from-to)562-568
Number of pages7
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number7
Early online date15 Sep 2017
E-pub ahead of print15 Sep 2017
Published1 Oct 2017

King's Authors


Background: In the UK, little is known about the perceived effects of deployment, on military families, from military personnel in theatre.Aims: To investigate military personnel's perceptions of the impact of deployment on intimate relationships and children.Methods: Deployed service personnel who were in a relationship, and who had children, completed a survey while deployed on combat operations. Data were taken from four mental health surveys carried out in Iraq in 2009 and Afghanistan in 2010, 2011 and 2014.Results: Among 4265 participants, after adjusting for military and social-demographic covariates, perceiving that deployment had a negative impact on intimate relationships and children was associated with psychological distress, and traumatic stress symptoms. Military personnel who reported being in danger of being injured or killed during deployment, were more likely to report a perceived negative effect of deployment on their intimate relationships. Reservists were less likely to report a perceived negative impact of deployment on their children compared with regulars. Military personnel who themselves planned to separate from their partner were more likely to report psychological distress, and stressors at home. Perceived insufficient support from the Ministry of Defence was associated with poor mental health, and holding a junior rank.Conclusions: Deployed UK military personnel with symptoms of psychological distress, who experienced stressors at home, were especially likely to perceive that their family were inadequately supported by the military. Those planning to separate from their partner were at increased risk of suffering with mental health problems while deployed.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454