Researchers are calling for more research into the causes of poor mental health and alcohol consumption (Picture: Alfonso Scarpa).
The female partners of military personnel are twice as likely to binge-drink than women with partners in the general population, new research suggests.
They are also more likely to be depressed, researchers from the King's Centre for Military Health Research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) found.
Researchers collected data from 405 women in military families with at least one child, representing around a third of such families in the military population.
Almost a tenth (9.7%) of military partners reported episodes of weekly, daily or almost daily binge-drinking, compared to 8.9% from the general population.
Seven per cent of military partners met criteria for probable depression, compared to three per cent of women from the general population.
After adjusting for other factors linked to poor alcohol behaviours, the researchers found military partners were twice as likely to binge-drink as women in the general population.
They also found that binge-drinking was significantly higher when families were separated for more than two months.
The researchers believe the behaviour may be a way to cope with the unique challenges experienced by military families, such as stress and separation caused by deployment and frequently moving location.
They are calling for more research into the causes of poor mental health and alcohol consumption and in developing prevention campaigns to reduce alcohol use.
The research is published in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology.
A spokesman for the Army Families Federation, the independent voice of Army families, said:
"Research in these areas helps organisations working with service families to better understand how they can be supported.
"We welcome the conclusion of this research by King's College London that available support could be better signposted for military partners."
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "We are committed to supporting military families, helping with training and employment opportunities, support children when moving schools, and where needed, signposting individuals to mental health support available through the NHS.
"We also work closely with charities and the service family federations to improve our understanding of and address the issues facing military families."