The University of Hawaii is leading a national study on the impact on marriages when Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers return home from combat. They’re seeking civilian spouses and partners of Guard and Reserve soldiers to participate.

“When deployed Guard and Reserve soldiers return from combat they go directly back into civilian communities,” Cynthia J’Anthony, principal investigator on the study, wrote in a press release. “Their spouses are thrust into caring for and coping with someone who may have been profoundly affected by combat.”

Civil Beat previously reported that Hawaii National Guard and Reserve troops struggle with post-combat employment, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and drug and alcohol abuse. The report also found spousal abuse on the rise.

The University of Hawaii study will ask questions including: How are spouses coping with this? How is it affecting their marriage? Is there volatile behavior in the home? Are spouses experiencing any behavioral health issues? Where do spouses turn for help? Is military family support helpful? Is support from family or friends helpful?

The reason the study targets Reservists is due to the unique makeup of the part-time force. Because Reserves are just that — Reserves — none live on military bases, limiting access to military services. Another key difference between Reserves and career soldiers is the perception by spouses of the likelihood their husband or wife will face combat.

According to a 2000 study cited by J’Anthony in the press release, only “35 percent of Guard and 28 percent of Reserve spouses thought it would be likely or very likely that their husbands would deploy during the next five years.”

Since 9/11, Reservists and Guard troops have been called into duty more frequently than in the past. Up to 85 percent of Hawaii’s current Army National Guard force and 45 percent of the Hawaii Air National Guard have seen action. A typical tour of duty can last up to 10 months.

Any findings from the study will be used to help shape public policy regarding National Guard and Reserve troops. The study is seeking civilian spouses (or unmarried couples living together) of Guard and Reserve soldiers to participate. All answers are anonymous.

To take part in the study, visit Armyspousestudy.com and click on the green banner in the top right corner of the page.

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