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Combat Experience Batters Marriage

Veterans who saw action on the battlefield 62 percent more likely to divorce or separate

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Combat veterans are 62 percent more likely than other men to have marriages that end in separation or divorce, says a Brigham Young University study.

The research appears in the December issue of Armed Forces and Society.

The study identified combat experience as an important risk factor for divorce or separation. Traumatic experiences such as combat seem to have a lasting impact on a person's ability to form and maintain successful relationships.

The researchers compared divorce and separation rates between armed forces veterans who had experienced combat and those who hadn't been in combat.

They analyzed the success or failure of men's marriages throughout most of the 20th century, including before, during and after World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

They found the rates for failed marriages was highest for Korean War veterans, not for Vietnam War veterans. The study found that Korean War veterans were 45 percent more likely to divorce than non-veterans of their era, while Vietnam War veterans were 28 percent more likely to divorce than their non-veteran peers.

Veterans who got married after the Korean and Vietnam Wars were more than twice as likely to end up divorced or separated than World War II veterans.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about family and relationships.

SOURCE: Brigham Young University, news release, Dec. 19, 2002
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