Bridging the Distance: Illustrations of Real-Time Communication of Support Between Partners and Deployed Members of the National Guard

  • Amber J. Seidel
  • Melissa M. Franks
  • Grady F. Murphy
  • Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth
Part of the Risk and Resilience in Military and Veteran Families book series (RRMV)


Exchanges of support are fundamental elements of intimate relationships and deployment separation may challenge partners’ ability to provide and receive support due in part to challenges in “staying connected”. Two studies examined daily exchanges of support between deployed service members and their partners at home. Although partners were geographically separated from a deployed member of the National Guard, all reported communicating with their partners during the 7-day study period. Our findings suggest that military couples frequently use interactive forms of communication (e.g., phone, Skype, instant messaging) though families generally are not able to schedule their contacts with one another during military deployment. Further, all partners reported providing and receiving support during the study period. Notably, decisions and disagreements were reported infrequently. Our findings underscore that access to multiple modes of communication can facilitate providing supportive contact between deployed military members and their families at home.


Communication Relationship support National Guard 



This research was supported in part by the Military Family Research Institute with funding from the Lilly Endowment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amber J. Seidel
    • 1
  • Melissa M. Franks
    • 2
  • Grady F. Murphy
    • 2
  • Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesPenn StateNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Military Family Research InstitutePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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