Research on Military/Veteran Families

Research on Military/Veteran Families

Year published

Families of Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans play an important supporting role and are  reflected in the mission of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).  

What is this Research About?

This report describes what is currently known about Canadian military and Veteran families, the Canadian evidence existing or being collected, as well as findings from international studies related to military and Veteran families. The results will inform the VAC Family Strategy and assist with planning for the 2016 Life After Service Studies.

What did the Researchers Do?

The researchers examined the demographic composition of Canadian military and Veteran families, reviewed more than 20 studies related to military and Veteran families in Canada, and reviewed 10 broader international population health studies which focused on military and Veteran families.  They also provided some recommendations gleaned from their research.

What did the Researchers Find?

  • The majority of Canadian military members and Veterans are married or have a partner, and many have children under the age of 18
  • Family relationships were found to be important to the well-being and life satisfaction of serving members
  • Families were found to be particularly important to Veterans suffering from service-related conditions
  • Low levels of social support and low family income were found to be associated with difficult adjustment to civilian life
  • Geographic moves and caring for members or Veterans with service-related conditions can have negative impacts on spouses and/or children
  • Impacts of service-related conditions and military service on families include:
    • divorce
    • financial insecurity
    • stress
    • low life satisfaction
    • mental health problems
    • child behavioural issues
    • spousal career sacrifices
    • lower spousal income
  • Previous Canadian and international reports provided recommendations including: focusing on the needs of families, empowering caregivers through skills development, and enhancing government employment opportunities for spouses.


MacLean MB, Campbell L, Macintosh S, Lee J, Pedlar D. Research on Military/Veteran Families. Charlottetown (PE): Veterans Affairs Canada Research Directorate; 2015 Dec 14. 40p. Technical Report.