Military Families


Extended and repeated deployments can cause significant stress to military families and may result in lower levels of reenlistment. RAND research has explored the need for military-sponsored child care and the role of military spouses, and continues to provide guidance to policymakers on how to attract and retain personnel with essential skills while also supporting military families.

  • U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Samuel Taylor, combat videographer, with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division returns from deployment at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 19, 2017, photo by Lance Cpl. Tanner Seims/U.S. Marine Corps


    A Guide to Evaluating Marine and Family Division Programs, Services, and Capabilities

    Sep 30, 2021

    For Marine and Family Division programs and services to remain meaningful, credible, and practical, their effectiveness must be able to be demonstrated. How might program implementers determine effectiveness and guide efficient use of scarce resources?

  • Spouses of soldiers participate in a Spouse Spur Ride at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, November 15, 2008, photo by Sgt. Mike Alberts/U.S. Army


    How Do Army Spouses Find the Help They Need?

    Dec 15, 2021

    The U.S. Army provides many resources to help soldiers and their families cope with military life. But Army spouses typically learn about services through word-of-mouth rather than through program outreach efforts. The Army could do more to get the word out about available assistance.

Explore Military Families

  • U.S. Army soldiers in an exercise on Udari Range Complex near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, that better prepares them to certify for future deployments, November 2017


    How Does Deployment Experience Compare Across the Services?

    Deployments are a key aspect of U.S. military service. Since 9/11, 2.77 million service members have served on 5.4 million deployments. Accrued time deployed is a relevant metric for measuring military experience, but also for measuring service member and family well-being.

    Mar 6, 2018

  • Periodical


    RAND Review: March-April 2018

    This issue features a Q&A with Michael Rich, Soledad O'Brien, and Francis Fukuyama on the perils of truth decay, and a story on the trend toward unretirement among U.S. workers. The Voices column features Gulrez Shah Azhar on environmental refugees.

    Mar 5, 2018

  • Report


    An Assessment of the Military Survivor Benefit Plan

    This report assesses the Survivor Benefit Plan in terms of participation and benefits, compares it with similar plans in public and private organizations, and considers the feasibility of having the plan provided by commercial sources.

    Feb 26, 2018

  • Grandson who served in Iraq helps his grandfather, who served in WWII


    Supporting Military and Veteran Caregivers from All Eras

    Research suggests ways to improve federal programs that support military and veteran caregivers. Notably, programs should be tailored to the needs of different populations, such as pre-9/11 and post-9/11 caregivers.

    Feb 6, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Alcohol Use Among Concerned Partners of Heavy Drinking Service Members and Veterans

    An intervention to improve mental health and communication among military spouses worried about their partners' drinking reduced depression more effectively for spouses who also drank heavily.

    Jan 30, 2018

  • People serving themselves from a buffet of food

    Journal Article

    Obesity May Be 'Socially Contagious'

    People who move to a high-obesity area are more likely to become overweight or obese. This may be due, in part, to “social contagion.” Living in a community where obesity is more common may make inactivity, poor diet, and being overweight or obese more socially acceptable.

    Jan 25, 2018

  • Military father with his family on sofa at home


    Helping Military Families: A Look at Non-Medical Counseling Programs in the U.S. Military

    A recent evaluation of the military's non-medical counseling programs suggests that they help military personnel and their families. Participants gave the programs favorable ratings, and most reported improvement over a three-month period.

    Jan 16, 2018

  • A U.S. soldier and his wife talking over breakfast

    News Release

    RAND Administering 2018 'Today's Army Spouse' Survey

    Researchers from RAND will administer a U.S. Army-sponsored survey to provide spouses of soldiers an opportunity to speak out on the challenges they face and the services they find most helpful.

    Jan 2, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Impact of TBI on Caregivers of Veterans with TBI: Burden and Interventions

    Programs to support caregivers and families of veterans with traumatic brain injuries will benefit from further research on the specific economic and health needs of these caregivers.

    Dec 7, 2017

  • A woman hugging her soldier son or grandson


    Military Caregivers Share the Costs of War

    Millions of veterans and service members receive care from family and friends who need support as well. Military caregivers sacrifice their time, their jobs, and even their health to provide a service worth billions of dollars to the United States. RAND research illuminates who they are, what they do, and what they need to succeed.

    Oct 30, 2017

  • Report


    An Evaluation of U.S. Military Non-Medical Counseling Programs

    This report evaluates two programs offered by the U.S. Department of Defense that provide solution-focused counseling for common personal and family issues to members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. military and their families.

    Oct 23, 2017

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    U.S. Military Non-Medical Counseling Programs Demonstrate Benefits for Participants

    RAND's evaluation of Military and Family Life Counseling and Military OneSource, based on participant surveys, suggests that these programs are largely effective for service members and families who have used these services.

    Oct 23, 2017

  • Periodical


    RAND Review: November-December 2017

    This issue highlights recent RAND research on post-9/11 military caregivers; RAND-Lex, a computer program built at RAND that can analyze huge data sets of text; and the implications of climate change on Arctic cooperation.

    Oct 19, 2017

  • African American soldier and his wife embracing in a sunny doorway

    Journal Article

    Efficacy of a Web-based Intervention for Concerned Spouses of Service Members and Veterans with Alcohol Misuse

    We found Partners Connect reduced CP anxiety and increased their emotional and tangible social support, factors that have a strong research base in affecting quality of life and health outcomes.

    Oct 18, 2017

  • An Army National Guardsman embraces a loved one upon returning to Virginia, July 10, 2017, from a deployment to the Middle East supporting Task Force Spartan Shield.


    Bridging Gaps in Veterans' Mental Health Care

    The Welcome Back Veterans (WBV) Initiative aims to bridge gaps in mental health care for returning veterans and their families. Strategic planning will help ensure WBV's continued effectiveness.

    Oct 9, 2017

  • Young military veteran with American flag in the foreground

    Research Brief

    The Changing Landscape for Veterans' Mental Health Care

    The changing landscape of veterans' mental health care poses challenges for the Welcome Back Veterans (WBV) initiative. Examining these challenges may help WBV ensure continued success and sustainability.

    Oct 9, 2017

  • Mother and daughter welcome military father home

    Research Brief

    A New Way Forward in Veterans' Mental Health Care: How "Welcome Back Veterans" Is Making a Difference

    This brief provides an overview of the Welcome Back Veterans (WBV) initiative, which provides grants to programs focused on addressing the mental health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

    Oct 9, 2017

  • U.S. Army officer returning from Afghanistan holds his son for the first time during a redeployment ceremony at Fort Hood, December 9, 2016


    Are Soldiers Getting What They Need?

    In addition to typical household issues, U.S. military families deal with unique challenges, such as deployments and frequent moves. A survey of more than 7,000 active-duty soldiers provides insight into the problems they face, their needs, and the resources they use.

    Oct 9, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Deployment Length, Inflammatory Markers, and Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Military Couples

    Longer deployments are associated with changes in a range of health-related markers in military veterans as well as their spouses.

    Aug 4, 2017

  • First Sgt. Raquel Steckman, with the 374th Engineer Company (Sapper), headquartered in Concord, California, jokes with her Soldiers before the start of formation.


    Military Power Is All About People: A Return to Personnel Policy

    Ensuring the strength of U.S. armed forces is critical to U.S. national security and the key source of strength is its people. True investment in personnel is a long-term legacy and an investment worthy of attention and policy debate to ensure the United States continues to recruit and retain the most effective fighting force in the world.

    Jul 27, 2017