School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Fred Volk


military spouse, mental health, religion, spirituality, social support, deployment, rank


Counseling | Religion


Military spouses (MLSPs) are a vital component of military readiness and resilience, yet they are highly understudied, particularly within the realm of mental health. This study was grounded in resilience theory, investigating relationship interactions between religion/spirituality (R/S) on mental health through resilience (mediator) conditioned at levels of social support, deployment, and rank (moderators). An online survey was distributed via social media, open to MLSPs of all branches and all components (N = 1079). This quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional correlational research design utilized PROCESS Model 58, which found that two R/S subscales, Daily Spiritual Experiences and Religious Coping, exerted indirect effects on all mental health outcomes (depression, anxiety, and stress) through resilience conditioned by the moderators. Other notable findings revealed that MLSPs demonstrated lower magnitudes of actual resilience compared to perceived resilience. Additionally, the preferred area for MLSP social support was “family of origin” followed by “local/surrounding community”; “military programs/resources” and “within the military unit” were ranked lowest. These collective results suggest that current MLSP mental health initiatives are missing the mark. Although MLSPs perceive themselves as highly resilient, the prevalence rates of mental health issues indicate otherwise. Currently, no MLSP mental health initiatives endorse cultivation of R/S to augment resilience with consideration to assessed moderators. Twenty years of the global war on terror has taken a toll on MLSP mental health. New interventions are needed to bolster resilience through R/S practices which will reduce MLSP mental health issues and strengthen America’s military.