Soldiers’ Divorce Rates up Sharply
The divorce rates of American soldiers are on the rise as the stress of their job increases, according to a new report.
Soldiers’ divorce rates up sharply (USA Today)
The number of active-duty soldiers getting divorced has been rising sharply with deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. The trend is severest among officers. Last year, 3,325 Army officers’ marriages ended in divorce – up 78% from 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion, and more than 31/2 times the number in 2000, before the Afghan operation, Army figures show. For enlisted personnel, the 7,152 divorces last year were 28% more than in 2003 and up 53% from 2000. During that time, the number of soldiers has changed little. The Army has no comparable data for past wars.
The stress of combat, long separations and difficulty readjusting to family life are key reasons for the surge, Army officials say. “Rising through the ranks, every subsequent job gets more difficult, more intense and more demanding,” says Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman. “So the stressors are extreme in the officer corps, especially when we’re at war, and officers have an overwhelming responsibility to take care of their soldiers as well as the soldiers’ families. There’s a lot of responsibility on the leaders’ shoulders, which, I can assure you, takes away from the home life.”
Quite so. Cops and soldiers have always had relatively high divorce rates, simply because of the nature of their jobs. Soldiering is even worse because of constant moving of the family from station to station and periodic solo assignments overseas, to combat zones or hardship areas like Korea. In generations past, spouses, mostly women, accepted this as their lot in life. Nowadays, with both spouses having careers, the sacrifice demanded of the “dependant” are more than many are willing to bear.