'The family and the military are both “greedy institutions” (Segal, 1986) and their competing demands can lead to conflict between work and family life for personnel.

'The demands of the military can also extend to military families via experiences of relocation, separations and reunions, and deployment, resulting in poorer mental health and well-being among military spouses.

'An additional, but under-researched, stressor for spouses is the relationship they have with the military as an institution. Military policies and procedures rely on personnel to be the conduit between the military and families, preventing spouses from feeling that they are fully participating in the military community. The community established by the military on-base can result in spouses being subject to gendered expectations to provide a range of gendered, informal support services and roles for other families.

'Challenges to identity arising from institutional practices that bonded spouses with Service personnel in everyday military life and expectations to “assume rank” by performing informal, unpaid roles indicates that the two-person single career is still evident within the UK military community.'



“Happy wife, happy soldier”

How the relationship between military spouses and the military institution influences spouse well-being

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

Chapter in Book:

The Politics of Military Families

First Published 2019

Imprint Routledge