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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Pitt Research Study Examines Military Couples’ Sleep

PITTSBURGH, April 26, 2012 – A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine research study will examine the role sleep plays in military couples’ relationships and their risk of developing cardiovascular disease – the number-one killer of men and women.

Sleep is a vital health behavior that affects both physical and mental health. For most adults, sleep also is a shared health behavior, since two-thirds of adults in the United States report regularly sleeping with a partner. Therefore, this research study examines the links between close relationships and sleep and how this dynamic influences heart disease risk.

The study will focus on military couples in which at least one member of the couple has served in Iraq or Afghanistan military operations, as this is a population at high-risk for sleep and relationship problems.

“A great deal of attention has been paid to the post-deployment adjustment difficulties experienced by military veterans, including high rates of sleep problems and other emotional difficulties. However, relatively little research has focused on the effects of deployment on military spouses and their families. Deployment and its aftermath also can exact a toll on the mental and physical health of the military spouse,” said Wendy M. Troxel, Ph.D., the research study’s principal investigator and an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  

“Our study is the first to comprehensively examine the adjustment of military couples in the post-deployment period, in terms of their sleep, relationship quality and physical health, which is critically important given that roughly 2 million troops have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since operations began in 2001,” Troxel said.

Researchers are looking for military couples who are married or living together and in which at least one member of the couple has served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. Both members of the couple must be willing to participate and be between the ages of 18 and 45. 

Participants will be compensated for their time. All information collected throughout the research study will remain confidential and will be recorded using secure methods. Participation in the research study will not be entered into military or medical records.

For more information or to see if you qualify for this research study, please call Marissa Cieply at 412-246-5783.

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