Families and the military

Our research expertise

The unique demands of military service, including operational deployments and the frequent separations from family, can significantly disrupt family life for members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Mobility is a fact of life for ADF members and this can present significant challenges for their families in negotiating transitions in schooling, child care and partner employment.

Little is known about the health and wellbeing of the families of currently serving and ex-serving Defence members.  There is, however, growing evidence that military service can have long term effects on the families of Defence members both while they are in the military and after they have left. In turn, the wellbeing of families can also have important implications for the health and wellbeing of current and former Defence members. AIFS has developed a strong understanding of the issues affecting military families through its research for both the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

AIFS research in the area focuses on the:

  • role of family in supporting and rehabilitating seriously wounded, injured or ill Defence members
  • physical and mental health of serving and ex-serving Defence members
  • wellbeing of the families of serving and ex-serving Defence members.

Current projects

The role of family in Australian Defence Force member rehabilitation
This project explores the role of families in the rehabilitation of seriously wounded, injured or ill Australian Defence Force members.

Family Wellbeing Study
This project examines the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

Selected publications

Vietnam Veterans Family Study. Volume 2, A study of health and social issues in Vietnam Veteran sons and daughters
Reports on the health and social issues of the sons and daughters of Vietnam Veterans.

Vietnam Veterans Family Study. Volume 3, Part 2: A study of mortality patterns of Vietnam Veteran families - supplementary analysis of the study data
Reports on the mortality patterns of Vietnam Veterans' families.

Did you know ...

There are currently over 10,000 women enlisted in the ADF, either as full-time or part-time members.

Find out more


Galina Daraganova
Executive Manager | Longitudinal Studies | Data Linkage and Integrating Authority

Kelly Hand
Deputy Director, Research

Jacqueline Harvey
Design Manager

Stewart Muir
Research Fellow

More information

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