'Three types of social role were identified within this theme: employee, military wife and mother. Employment – and the identity of ‘employee’ obtained through work – was described by a number of participants as a positive influence on their well-being, enabling spouses to reclaim a sense of independence and self beyond the military community and contributing to their self-image.

'Some spouses described tensions attempting to balance these three competing identities that could influence well-being. Spouses reported feelings of guilt when trying to manage work and family life alongside employment, while others reported a perceived loss of status when unable to work.

'Some spouses explicitly described employment as an integral component of their self-construction and identity. This was not reported to be in relation to any particular profession or occupation but rather to the identity spouses obtained as a result of work. Work provided a sense of stability or security for the identity of some spouses:

"your job becomes part of your identity."

'(Kim, 40s, officer, Army)

'– and therefore became a strong motivation for seeking employment:

"… [work] is part of my identity … it is part of who I am … the move that I found most difficult was when I was on maternity leave … after that maternity leave I think I really wanted to just get back to a little bit of who I am and what I know. So going back to work was really important."

'(Anna, 40s, officer, Army)'



‘It’s nice to just be you’: The influence of the employment experiences of UK military spouses during accompanied postings on well-being.

Rachael Gribble, Laura Goodwin, Sian Oram, Nicola T Fear

April 1, 2019