Wives of serving soldiers being made to 'feel like second-class citizens'

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The Independent Online

The wives of British servicemen feel they are treated like "second-class citizens" and regarded as an "irritation" by the military establishment while being left to cope alone with the constant fear of their partner being killed.

In the first study into the pressures felt by women with serving spouses, those questioned said their stress levels went "through the roof" during the first weeks of active service. The survey was conducted at the height of the UK troop deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 45 women in the sample said they struggled with the constant upheaval of military life, with those questioned having moved an average of four times in the first nine years of marriage. Many reported feeling resentful, excluded from major decisions that affected their lives and of feeling powerless.

The research was presented to the British Psychological Society conference in York. The women also reported feeling wary about seeking help from military welfare officers in case that had an adverse affect on their husband's career.

The study was carried out by Tone Lise Puckey of the University of Bedfordshire, who is married to an army sergeant.