Perinatal mental health and well-being among UK military spouses/partners

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Psychological Medicine


This PhD aims to understand perinatal mental health among the spouses and partners of military personnel using a mixed methods approach. The four objectives of this study are to:
1. summarise the findings from the previous international literature on the perinatal mental health of military spouses/partners;
2. examine the prevalence of perinatal mental health among military spouses/partners compared with women in the general population;
3. explore the influence of having a partner in the UK military on the mental health and well-being of military spouses/partners during pregnancy and after childbirth; and
4. conduct interviews with healthcare professionals and those in the military community with a remit for military family health, (e.g. charity representatives, military welfare), to understand service provider perceptions of military spouses/partners experiences during the perinatal period
There is currently a lack of UK research on perinatal health among military spouses/partners and how military life may influence their well-being during this time. While US research has been conducted in this field, cultural and military differences mean that factors identified as influential in previous studies may not apply in the UK. This project will be the first UK study to examine perinatal health among the spouses/partners of military personnel using a mixed methods approach. This will provide estimates of perinatal mental health among this population and explore the experiences of spouses/partners and those providing support and care such as healthcare professionals, representatives from military charities and military welfare officers to better understand this issue. The originality and importance of this research, and our ability to fill vital gaps, all demonstrate the need for this project.
The collaborative nature of this project will provide an evidence-base regarding perinatal health among UK military spouses/partners and recommendations for supporting women and families during this time through the research expertise of the supervisors and department at KCMHR and the support and guidance of the partner organisations from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force Family Federations with which KCMHR have strong research links. Findings will also be shared with the Ministry of Defence to help inform the Armed Forces Families Strategy.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2105526 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2018 30/06/2022 Clare Knox