A project carried out by the Veterans Ombudsman explores aspects of the spouse’s role in a Veteran’s successful transition from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to civilian life, through the lived experiences of spouses and a survey of academic literature.
Two recent publications conclude this project work: Spouses Supporting Transition Study Report and the Spouses of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans During Military to Civilian Transition Literature Review.
Key findings from the study report include:
- The top three stressors are the Veteran’s health issues, financial security, and maintaining family stability.
- The top three sources of support were family, friends, and counselors/therapists.
- Informal supports were the most helpful, and formal supports were complex and confusing.
Highlights from the literature review include:
- Spouses of Veterans inherit a significant amount of unpaid labour, and suffer negative impacts to both physical and mental health immediately prior to, during, and following the Veteran’s medical release.
- Several studies reported negative career impacts, social isolation, and a sense of loss from the spouses’ perspectives as a consequence of peer-reviewed work drawn from academic as well as government sources of military to civilian transition.
- One study recorded that Veterans living with partners report higher levels of satisfaction, adjustment, perceived social support, and lower difficulty with military to civilian transition than Veterans living alone or with family members.
What can be learned?
More study is needed to determine how Canada should assist caregivers who provide valuable, largely unrecognized and unpaid, support to our Veterans. And more research is required to better understand how transition can impact the spouses’ health and employment, and to identify gaps or improvements to programs and services that will minimize the effects for them.
You can access other published work from this project on the Website of the Veterans Ombudsman.
Source: Veterans Ombudsman, Canada