The psycho-social consequences of intermittent husband absence: an epidemiological study

Taylor, R., Morrice, K., Clark, D. and McCann, K. (1985) The psycho-social consequences of intermittent husband absence: an epidemiological study. Social Science and Medicine, 20(9), pp. 877-885. (doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(85)90344-2) (PMID:4012365)

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This paper examines the psycho-social effects on wives of their husbands' intermittent absence on off-shore oil rigs. It is based on data gathered from a random sample of wives living in Aberdeen area, and it proceeds in three stages. The analysis begins with a comparison between wives whose husbands work on- and off-shore, it goes on to examine differential reaction to husband absence in the off-shore group and concludes with an attempt to estimate prevalence of the ‘intermittent husband syndrome’. All the available evidence suggests that the psycho-social effects of intermittent husband absence have been exaggerated. The mental and physical health of wives of men working off-share was similar in most respects to the health of wives whose husbands work on-shore. Within the sample of wives whose husbands worked off-shore those most affected by intermittent husband absence were ‘Novices’ (newly married wives with pre-school children and no previous experience of husband absence), those with outside employment and those experiencing irregular absences. But even among such groups with fairly pronounced mood and behaviour changes there was little evidence of raised levels of morbidity. When defined in terms of specified levels of reactivity, marital conflict and morbidity prevalence of the ‘intermittent husband syndrome’ was found to be around 10%.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Clark, Professor David
Authors: Taylor, R., Morrice, K., Clark, D., and McCann, K.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Journal Name:Social Science and Medicine
Publisher:Pergamon Press
ISSN (Online):1873-5347

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