Effects of War on Military Personnel and their Families

Effects of War on Military Personnel and their Families

As evidenced in films like Casablanca, Saving Private Ryan, Good Morning Vietnam, and Courage Under Fire, Hollywood glamorizes war. Films like these often leave the viewer with warm feelings at their conclusion. War, however, has a very different effect on those involved in it, including not only the military personnel but also their families. Soldiers may return with significant emotional problems, including PTSD, depression, substance abuse, and an inability to control their emotions (particularly anger, which can manifest as family violence). The length of time apart and the emotional problems experienced by returning military can result in the demise of relationships. Sadly, many parents, children, and partners never see their loved ones return from war, and such losses leave emotional scars on those left behind.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review the articles, The Impact of Individual Trauma Symptoms of Deployed Soldiers on Relationship Satisfaction and Psychological Symptoms and Marital Satisfaction in Spouses of Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans: Relationships with Spouses Perceptions of Veterans Experiences and Symptoms. Focus on the effects of war on military personnel and their families.

View the assigned portion of the video, “Crisis Counseling: The ABC Model and Live Demonstration with Two PTSD Clients,” located in the Walden University library. Consider the effects of war on military personnel post-deployment.

Select two major effects of war on military personnel and two major effects on their significant others and families. Be sure to include both during deployment and post-deployment. Note: Select an effect other than PTSD here, as it will be addressed later in the course.

Think about the interventions and/or responses you might apply to address the effects you chose and why you selected each intervention/response.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 3 a description of two major effects of war on military personnel, including both during deployment and post-deployment. Then, describe two major effects on their significant others and families, including both during deployment and post-deployment. Then, explain at least one intervention/response for each of the effects you described, and explain why you selected these interventions/responses.

Effects of War on Military Personnel and their Families

Major effects of war on military personnel during deployment and post-deployment

Many soldiers experience mental problems during and after their deployment. Research shows that deployed soldiers have higher risks of being depressed than civilians. Multiple and prolonged deployments put military personnel at a greater risk for depression. The symptoms of depression on military personnel include: suicidal ideas or behaviors, drastic changes in appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, lack of interest in once-pleasurable hobbies and activities, social isolation, feelings of self-hate, guilt and worthlessness, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, fatigue, concentration difficulties, and irritability. Depression often puts military personnel at greater risks for partner distress, family violence, divorce, and marital problems (Renshaw, Rodrigues & Jones, 2008).

Although less common, the military personnel usually experience substance abuse. The 2008 Department of Defense of Health Behavior indicated that incidents of drug abuse among military personnel were significantly increasing overtime. A research on Army soldiers after deployment showed that 27% met the conditions for alcohol abuse and were at a greater risk for associated harmful behaviors such as using illicit drugs and drinking while driving. Deployed soldiers also tend to start or increase smoking behaviors. The situation is even worse by the fact that there is usually negligible intervention for these effects (Renshaw, Rodrigues & Jones, 2008).

Major of war on the families of military personnel during deployment and post-deployment

The deployment usually compels the spouses and children of the military personnel to adjust to their changing roles in the households. The spouses need to stand into the gap left by the soldiers. Children also have to assume more responsibilities in order to assist their remaining parents. After the deployment, most soldiers come back home with trauma, which again increases the family responsibilities and this causes added stress. The increased stress may greatly affect the adjustment of the couples, their intimacy, and communication (Goff et al, 2007).

The spouses and children of the traumatized soldiers have high chances of developing secondary traumatization. When the families interact closely with traumatized soldiers, they also end up being traumatized in the long-run of the relationship. Soldiers who encounter traumatic experiences during deployment usually bring those experiences into their relationships through memories. Research shows that the spouses of soldiers suffer from greater symptoms of psychiatric problems, pyschoticism, paranoid ideation, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive problems, and somatization, than the controls in the study (Goff et al, 2007).

Appropriate intervention/response for each of the effects described

The appropriate intervention for depression is to ensure that the problem is monitored, assessed, and treated in time. To deal with the effect of drug abuse, there should be increased access to care and screening among military personnel so that the effect can be prevented and/or treated. The agencies should also provide an open environment where the soldiers can come out clearly and seek assistance rather than being too strict by threatening them with tough penalties.

With regard to the effect of increased responsibilities on the spouses of the military personnel, solving the issue of depression can bring the soldier to his or her normal personality, which would allow them to resume their original responsibilities and roles in the family. Another intervention that may help the spouses to avoid experiencing secondary traumatization is by encouraging them to communicate their feelings effectively with each other. Frequent and open communication reduces the effect of the traumatic event in the family relationship (Goff et al, 2007).


Goff, B. S. N., Crow, J. R., Reisbig, A. M., & Hamilton, S. (2007). The impact of individual        trauma symptoms of deployed soldiers on relationship satisfaction. Journal of Family       Psychology, 21(3), 344.

Renshaw, K. D., Rodrigues, C. S., & Jones, D. H. (2008). Psychological symptoms and marital                satisfaction in spouses of Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans: Relationships with spouses’   perceptions of veterans’ experiences and symptoms. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(4),            586.

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