'Many spouses described how their relationship with their husband led them to be ascribed the identity of a ‘military wife’ or dependent within the community.

'By establishing connections and relationships with civilians, spouses were able to reassert their independence and resist the identities imposed on them through their relationship with their husband within their working environment:

"… it’s nice to just be you, just be Allison and not ‘Oh your husband’s [rank] [surname]’ … you’re your own person and you’re not sort of classed with your husband as such … that’s nice."

'(Allison, 30s, NCO, Army)

"… if I didn’t work it would drive me mad! … Because I think I have lost a bit of my identity being married to someone in the military."

'(Gina, 40s, NCO, RAF)

'Spouses who disliked this ascribed identity but were unable to find employment, for example, during overseas or short postings, described how being viewed as a ‘military wife’ challenged their perceived independence and status within the community that they had previously obtained through their own employment:

"… [I felt] bored! Frustrated … kinda a bit useless really. I just felt like that spouses on someone’s arm … I like to go and make my own money. I don’t like to rely on people and I had to rely on my husband for kind of everything out there."

'(Mary, 30s, NCO, Army, transitioned)

"… you get to [Europe] and then you become a dependent. And basically you lose any status you’ve ever had and you have to go through a [job search] process which is … quite demeaning … I was quite high [up] where I was and I’m suddenly having to do typing tests to even get into their pool of employees."

'(Molly, 40s, NCO, 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