Military families are known for their resiliency, but even this is challenged as they experience multiple and lengthy deployment cycles. This study considers the factors that affect reintegration on returning from deployment and makes recommendations as to how families can be better supported throughout this process.
Although military families are typically resilient in the face of adversity, the current literature suggests that the aftermath of deployment involves numerous stressors and difficulties for these families for a long period. Using a sample of 380 US service members, 295 partners of US service members, and 136 adolescents, who experienced a full deployment cycle of a service member parent, this study addresses the gaps in knowledge by examining how factors identified in prior research (reintegration stress and coping, preparation and expectations, family functioning and parental satisfaction, perceived adolescent changes between deployment and reintegration, and adolescents' perception of family functioning) affect reintegration stress and coping for US service members, partners of US service members (someone who identifies as being in a significant relationship with a service member), and adolescents. Better service member coping, satisfaction with family deployment coping, better preparation, and accurate expectations were all found to be associated with lower reintegration stress. Findings point to the need for a systemic approach throughout the deployment cycle for better reintegration outcomes for military individuals and families.
Coming home: the experiences and implication of reintegration for military families. Lydia I. Marek and Lyn E. Moore.Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, 2015, 1:2, 21-31.