If there is a connection between military service and the affairs, he said, it may have something to do with separation from spouses, or "there may be something in military cultures that supports going to commercial sex workers."
The researchers weren't able to study whether spouses of service members or veterans had more affairs of their own.
The findings are scheduled to be presented Monday at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Las Vegas. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary, because it has not gone through the peer-review process required of studies that are published in medical journals.
Keith Armstrong, director of couples and family therapy at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, said the study appears to be well-done, but doesn't account for factors like whether length of deployment translates into more infidelity.
As for reasons to explain the affairs, he said the stress of military service can make people seek bonds with others, potentially leading to infidelity.
The research, Armstrong said, "allows us to dig deeper. The more we understand, the better we can look at which relationships are at high risk for infidelity and what sorts of interventions we can provide." Counselors, he added, can help couples increase communication and preserve the bond between them.
However, he said, "even with the best interventions, divorce is a fact of life. We're not going to be able to fix every relationship, and it's naive to think we could. Some relationships are better off ending."
For more about divorce, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Andrew S. Lond
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