'A prominent view among spouses was that accompanied postings limited their ability to have choice and control over their career or employment. As a consequence, spouses were unable to plan ‘career paths’; spouses who wanted to work described this as negatively affecting job satisfaction and generating resentment.

'In some cases, this had serious implications for the emotional well-being and mental health of spouses who were not able to overcome the obstacles they encountered:

"I’ve grabbed every opportunity I’ve been able to, but … there’s not really been my conscious choices … [I feel] a little bit resentful because I think we’ve got into a mode now where … I’m working for the money and just keeping in employment, but not really enjoying it too much!"

'(Gina, 40s, NCO, RAF)

"… I desperately wanted to work and I did find a job eventually. But I found myself in a real sort of trench of depression because I just couldn’t see where my life was going I suppose."

'(Carrie, 50s, officer, Army, transitioned)

'Anticipation of a loss of control preceded accompanied postings for some spouses; uncertainty regarding work could lead to worry and anxiety during this period, especially in relation to the potential financial implications for the family.

'These feelings were particularly acute among spouses for whom previous accompanied postings had had negative impacts on their employment:

"… It is quite an unsettling feeling … you’ve got all the worries of looking and starting all over again really … You try not to get you know sort of stressed about it, but it’s just something that happens … you get used to that income a month and then it’s like … ‘When can I start looking?’ and ‘Am I going to get anything?’ … I get quite anxious."

'(Allison, 30s, 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