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