War-time Marital Separation: Mental Health and Reunion Expectations Among Non-Deployed Spouses
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis project was broadly interested in the impact of military deployments on non-deployed spouses. Specifically, it examined how adjustment of the non-deployed spouse was related to the quality of the spouse's reunion experience. Non-deployed spouses' adjustment to the deployment was operationally defined in two ways, as relational adjustment and psychiatric adjustment. Relational adjustment examined aspects of a stream-of-conscious (SOC) recording non-deployed spouses made about their upcoming reunion experience with their husbands. Psychiatric adjustment was measured as a composite score of mental health symptoms, including: depressive, anxiety, and substance use symptoms from before, during, and after deployment. It was predicted that mental health symptoms would worsen following the deployment and improve following their husband's return; however, individual results were much more varied. In addition, I examined whether or not the composite scores of mental health were related to high adjustment during the deployment and a positive reunion experience later. While results were non-significant, this is likely due to the small sample size, as moderate effects were seen in the analysis involving more participants. Additionally, there was a strong relationship observed between the construct of balance during the Reunion SOC and mental health at Time 1, suggesting that mental health prior to a deployment may have behavioral implications during the deployment. Results from this project have some important implications for military families; by suggesting how adjustment relates to reunion experiences, programs can be offered to help non-deploying family members succeed through this difficult time.
Degree ProgramHonors College