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Posted 09-07-2012.

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Air Force leaders care not only about the well-being of their airmen but also that of their families. Already aware of the stresses of military life, the Air Force has already created a number of programs to assist families. But are these programs doing enough? What factors do families associate with these problems? And, despite the problems, do airmen's spouses understand that the leadership cares, and are they generally satisfied with Air Force life? To answer these questions, the Air Force asked RAND to conduct a survey at the start of the Year of the Air Force Family. That survey asked a representative sample of military spouses of active-duty airmen questions focused on specific issues and associated factors. The authors found that sizable segments of the population have experienced negative effects on child behavior, family finances, and spousal employment after moves and deployments. They also found that spouses were not always aware that programs exist to address their problems or were unable to take advantage of them. The report concludes with a series of options for improving the available support; these include expanding assistance during moves and deployments, increasing the availability of child care and youth recreational activities, developing partnerships with national companies and contractors to improve employment opportunities for spouses, and centrally maintaining direct contact information for spouses.

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The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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