UK’s Ministry of Defense: Women in the Military at Greater Risk of Psychological Concerns

Serving in the armed forces in any capacity, including in armed combat, can take a significant toll on personal well-being, a connection that has long been studied and addressed by researchers and other professionals. Understanding which people may be more susceptible to the development of psychological issues as a result of their experiences is of great importance for not only treating these issues but for helping to prevent them, as well, and ongoing efforts to identify key risk factors hold the potential to improve the quality of life of both active duty personnel and veterans. The UK’s Ministry of Defense has recently released data showing that women serving in the three main branches of the military are more than twice as likely to exhibit psychological issues as their male counterparts, a finding that may impact the country’s proposal to allow women to serve in front-line combat positions.

The report highlights statistics showing that seven of every thousand women in the military will become affected by a psychological concern requiring therapy or other forms of treatment, the same is true for only three of every thousand men. Yet representatives of related social welfare and mental health groups note that the data may be skewed, given that women tend to be more likely to report their concerns and to seek subsequent treatment, whereas many men may not reveal their inner turmoil or take advantage of available therapy and counseling programs.

Encouraging early reporting, accurate screening, and meaningful prevention of these issues in members of the armed forces, whether troops are male or female, will likely have a positive effect on the growing worry over mental stability and health in the military.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • DUKE

    February 14th, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Well I do agree with this finding because women are, in general, a lot more emotional about things in general and combat-related things and situations can really upset or creat problems to more women than men…it is not to say that their mental health is lower but its just that they tend to take things in a more emotional way than men do.

  • Sara

    February 14th, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Very true I would think that womer are going to be more prone to seeking treatment for a problem when they recognize that there is one. I also think that women tend to feel things more therefore they experience things more deeply than men do. That being said I hope that this does not deter women from having the opportunity to be in the combat field because to lose them would be a waste of talent and many commmitted soldiers.

  • linda g

    February 15th, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    Don’t you think that this could be some underhanded way to keep women off the battlefield? Start making remarks that it is going to cost more to maintain them as soldiers and the bureaucrats will come up with anything, any reason, to lower the costs and keep them at home.

  • wilma

    February 15th, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    i do not agree with this at all…both men and women have the similar, if not the same, levels of mental strain and problems and psychological conditions. its just that women are more expressive and come out with their problems much more easily than men do…as am illustration, boys cry too, but mostly when no one’s watching.

  • JOAN K.

    February 16th, 2010 at 2:17 AM

    I just think it depends on the individual and not their gender when it comes to them being prone to suffering from psychological concerns. What may also have given this result is that they are far less number of women in the armed forces compared to their make counterparts.

  • Georgia

    February 16th, 2010 at 7:14 AM

    This is just one more way that is being tried to show women as the weaker sex. Crying and getting your emotions out is still considered more of a feminine thing to do and now we are beign chastised for that! Give me a break! Half the world would have already fallen apart years ago without women taking the lead and the same is going to hold true in the military. Yes women feel things and they care but that does not mean that we are not up to the fighting. When the cause is something that we believe in we are there and heaven help anyone who gets in our way. To make statements about how we need more psychological care is silly. We simply know when we need help and know how to ask for it, but that does not make our performance in life any less.

  • linda lesley

    February 16th, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    many countries still do not allow women in frontline combat and keep them within safe distance from frontline battle.while not everybody would be okay with such rules in some countries,i believe it is done keeping in a few things,one of which is actually the finding of this study.

  • kelly

    February 17th, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    If this is true about women having a harder time psychologically than men do, would the military have allowed them to fight in the first place? Don’t think so.

  • Gary

    June 2nd, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    I have been in the military for over 35 years and there is absolutely no difference in way men or women handle the effects and stressors of military service – deployed or in garrison. In fact, if I had to say who handles the stressors more effectively it would be women. The last thin the military needs is more pandering to weakness and the insertion of feel-better hand holding counseling services – especially for women. To do so is to diminish the strengths women bring to the work at hand and to further identify them as apart from the mainstream, weak, and incapable of performing the same duties as a man. Women do not need to be told what they cannot do, or why – they just need the opportunity to do it.

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