FRIDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Almost a third of current or former U.S. military service members who were ever married have had affairs -- twice the rate of the general population, a new study found.
It's not clear, however, whether serving in the military played any role in the higher rate of infidelity.
The findings do suggest that service members, veterans and their spouses may need special care and counseling, said study author Andrew S. London, chair of sociology at Syracuse University.
"This shows the need for interventions and programs that might assist military families that are grappling with these issues," London said. "In some ways, it validates the concerns of some spouses left behind and increases our understanding of the problems that veterans and their families might face."
The study, which London said is one of the most extensive of its kind, examined the results of a national survey -- the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) -- that was taken in 1992. The 3,121 participants were aged 18 to 59; 2,308 had ever been married. "Although [the data] is now two decades old, the NHSLS is one of the few national data sets that includes questions about whether respondents have ever served in the military, had extramarital sex, and marital and divorce history," London said.
The researchers focused on active-duty service members and veterans, both men and women, who were married or had been married. They'd served during peacetime and wars.
Almost a third of them (32 percent) said they'd had sexual affairs outside marriage, about twice the rate of other married people (16.8 percent).
It's not clear when the service members and veterans had the affairs. And the research doesn't prove that military service causes affairs, London said. One possibility is that something in the respondents' backgrounds made them more likely to join the mi
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