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Length of deployment can affect divorce rates

A recently completed Rand corporation study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, found that both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have had a strong impact on service members' marriages, particularly in the realm of divorce when long deployments are undertaken.

The findings were taken from 462,444 enlisted service members who were married while serving in the military between March 1999 and June 2008. According to the study, couples married before September 11, 2001 were 28 percent more likely to divorce within three years of marriage if one or both spouses were deployed for longer than one year to the war zones of Afghanistan or Iraq.

Meanwhile, researchers found that couples who were married after the 9/11 attacks experienced lower divorce rates, raising speculation that those who married post-9/11 were better equipped to deal with the difficulties of war.

Without regard to when a military couple married or when the deployment occurred, it was also found by researchers that the longer a deployment lasted, the more likely there the chance of divorce. In the divorces studied, ninety-seven percent occurred after a return from deployment.

Also, women were found to be more likely to divorce than male service members following a deployment, while military families that contained children were less likely to divorce.

This study compliments the 2011 USA Today findings that cited military divorce rates to be at their highest level since 1999, while the Department of Defense contends divorce has been steadily rising for the past ten years.

Source: Huffington Post, "Military Divorce Risk Increases With Lengthy Deployments" Bridget Mallon, Sep. 03, 2013

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