Health of the Army Family

Last Updated: April 01, 2020
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​Army Family Members play a key role in the readiness and retention of our fighting force. The Health of the Army Family initiative aims to better understand the health needs and concerns of Army Families and take action to keep the Army strong.

​ARMY FAMILY MEMBERS PLAY A KEY ROLE IN THE READINESS AND RETENTION OF OUR FIGHTING FORCE. Family member health and satisfaction are critical to a Service member’s plans to remain in the military. Spousal support is a good predictor of a member’s intentions of staying on active duty—up to 20 percent of spouses do not support their Service member staying on active duty.1 The health and satisfaction of Army Families today directly impacts the future fighting Force of our Nation—61 percent of Soldiers are from families who have served in the military.2 We must better understand the health needs and concerns of Army Families and take action to keep the Army strong.


What’s next?
Many programs and initiatives across the government and within communities support the Army Family. The aim of the present effort is to improve coordination among agencies with an interest in Army Family well-being by developing long-lasting partnerships and collaborative opportunities. The U.S. Army Public Health Center and partners will identify gaps in data, areas in need of additional support, and recommendations for improving the health of the Army Family across all domains.

Some known gaps and directions for the future of this initiative include:
• Injury rates for Army children
• Heat risk for Army Family members
• Air quality of Army installations
• Obesity rates of Army Family members
• Asthma rates of Army Family members
• Walkability of Army installations
• Spirituality of Army Family members
…and others!


1. Campbell A, Luchman J, Khun J. Spousal support to stay as a predictor of actual retention behavior: a logistic regression analysis. Note No.2017-009. Office of People Analytics. Defense Research, Surveys, and Statistics Center. November 22, 2017

2. Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies. 2018. DoD Active Duty New Recruit Survey. Family History of Military Service.

3. Blue Star Families®. 2018. Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey 2018 Report. https://bluestarfam.org/survey.

4. Everson, R.B., Darling, C.A., & Herzog, J.R. 2013. Parenting stress among US Army spouses during combat-related deployments: the role of sense of coherence. Child and Family Social Work, 18, 168-178.

5. Meadows, S.O., Beckett, M.K., Bowling, K., Golinelli, D., Fisher, M.P., Martin, L.T., Meredith, L.S., & Osilla, K.O. 2015. Family Resilience in the Military: Definitions, Models, and Policies (RR-470-OSD). RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA.

6. Blue Star Families®. 2018. Challenges Facing Our Military Spouses. https://bluestarfam.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BSF_final_Milspouse_Unemployment_infographic.pdf7 DOD. 2012. Military Spouse Employment Initiative. https://www.ncsl.org/documents/wln/ekringer.pdf

8. U.S. Chamber Foundation. 2017. Hiring Our Heroes. Military Spouses in the Workplace: Understanding the Impacts of Spouse Unemployment on Military Recruitment, Retention, and Readiness.

9. Ridding-Johnston, C. 2010. Building sustainable communities for America’s military families. Economic Development Journal, 9(1), 24-30. https://www.iedconline.org/

10. CEL & Associates, Inc. 2019. Executive Summary of the Headquarters Department of the Army FH Initiative Survey (Owned and Leased) Housing. The Army’s Residential Communities Initiative. Prepared on March 2019.

11. CEL & Associates, Inc. 2019. Summary of the Headquarters Department of the Army Residential Communities Initiative Resident Survey. The Army’s Residential Communities Initiative. Prepared on July 2019.

12. Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS). 2017. Demographics of Army Beneficiary Utilizers, January-December 2017.

13. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 2018. Quality of Care for Children in Medicaid and CHIP: Findings from the 2017 Child Core Set, slide 21.

14. Defense Health Agency. 2018. HEDIS & Disease Condition Prevalence Measures. https://carepoint.health.mil/sites/mhsphp/SitePages/DashboardTableau.aspx

15. Lewy, C.S., Oliver, C.M., & McFarland, B.H. 2014. Barriers to Mental Health Treatment for Military Wives. Psychiatric Services, 65 (9). 1170-1173. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300325